2018 Alberto Orte Escalada do Sil, Galicia, Spain
60% Merenzao, 30% Mencia, 10% Garnacha Tintorera
Like many of the wines Alberto Orte makes, Escalada do Sil is a history project. Intrigued by century-old wine writing that described elegant, aromatic reds from Valdeorras, Alberto sought to replicate this style, veering away from the Godello that is the predominant grape now planted in the region. He found an old-vine parcel, terraced because of its almost cliff-like steepness, at the western end of the appellation adjacent to Ribera Sacra. He found a plot to Mencia, Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet), and Merenzao, the grape known as Bastardo in Portugal and Trousseau in the Jura region of France. With these cool-climate, aromatic red varieties, Alberto knew he could bring this history to life with Escalada do Sil – the Staircase to the Sil. Whole cluster fermented with ambient yeasts, the swirling, shimmering aromatics of Escalada do Sil evoke the mountain reds of old Galicia with sanguine and floral notes and a bright, elegant profile.
Opaque ruby. Sexy mineral- and smoke-accented dark fruit, incense and potpourri scents are complemented by suggestions of cola and smoky minerals. Sweet, seamless and concentrated, offering intense boysenberry, cherry liqueur and violet pastille flavors that become livelier and spicier with aeration. Sappy, palate-staining and lively; subtle tannins fold smoothly into the lingering blue fruit.