A big shout out to Genevieve McCarthy (CEO, www.cellartours.com) for tipping me off on this one, as Ribeira Sacra isn’t so easy to get your hands on in the middle of August when the better wine shops are shut. Still, true to my word, I was determined to get a slurp of something from this promising little region.
Adega Algueira (www.adegaalgueria.com) is a tiny little winery, which encompasses the true meaning of the term 'garage wineries'. These incredible bottles really do come out of little more than a garden shed, and yet, the venerable Robert Parker gave their aged mencia (red) 95 points. That’s not to be sniffed at.
My interest for now though is still the whites. We need cooling off, not hotting up, and everything about the terroir suggests refreshing, minerally whites that match the season. Adega Algueira work with Godello, Loureiro, Alvariño and Treixadura white grapes, which they say they harvest and turn into wine to music. Apparently the grapes like it, and having just viewed an old series of David Attenborough's Private Life of Plants, I can well believe it. Certainly these are whites with personality.
The Brandán Algueira is made of 100 percent Godello and got 90 points at a recent tasting by the Asociación Gallega de Catadores. It has pleasant late summer aromas: apple orchards and hay making that are reflected by subtle autumnal flavours in the mouth. There’s also a glimmer of that characteristic Godello bitterness, but it is nicely integrated into the wine giving it back-bone rather than unpleasantness.
I’d drink this with food, particularly big platters of fish and seafood, rather than on its own, and it’s something I’d bring out when I’ve got wine-loving friends coming for dinner.