Friday, January 16, 2015

Adras: Screaming Value from Galicia

When it comes to $14 wine, it doesn't get much better.
Lately I’ve been enjoying some bottles from my personal collection. Generally, I’m on the lookout for interesting and unique wines that speak clearly of their place of origin. I also look for values, those bottles you can open without hesitation for friends or simple weeknight meals.

I recently tasted through two Galician wines — a white Godello and a red Mencia — that worked perfectly in this context. These wines come from the steep, rocky hills of the Mino and Sil Rivers in Northern Spain’s Ribeira Sacra region. Bottled under the “Adras” moniker, these wines are the product of winemaker and awesome-name-holder Isaac Fernandez.

I bought these for $14 apiece from Garagiste, a wine merchant that offers lots of deliciously quirky bottles through their emails. (These emails are informative, memorable and usually hilarious, so you should probably sign up for them right now.) 

While I enjoyed the Mencia more, I highly recommend both of these wines at $14 a bottle. That’s absurd value and an easy way to learn something new about two Spanish grapes from a relatively unknown region.

2012 Isaac Fernandez Selection Godello Ribeira Sacra “Adras” - Spain, Galicia, Ribeira Sacra
Light gold color. Love the burst of lime, minerals, white peach and flowers on the nose. I started salivating for the freshness just sniffing this wine. On the palate, this takes a clean and bright approach but shows moderate weight and moderate+ complexity. Flavors of nectarine, lime and white peach mix with some briny and oceanic elements. (A hint of almond and chive?) Chalky, some saline and honeyed tea aspects linger on the finish. Great for salads and apps, but I drank this with some Kung Pao shrimp and it actually worked well. No oak or maloactic fermentation, keeping this wine bright and clear. Made from 40-year-old Godello grapes grown in granite and sandy soils. (88 points)

2012 Isaac Fernandez Selection Mencía Ribeira Sacra “Adras” - Spain, Galicia, Ribeira Sacra
Vibrant ruby color. Bright red cherries and berries on the nose, with roses, sweet red licorice. Also an earthy streak on the nose and a Morgon-like combination of flowers, granite and loam. On the palate, tangy acid, dusty tannins, this is a tangy but forward wine with every kind of red fruit from currants to red apple peel. I love the deep sense of rocks and soil, mixed in with notes of sweet pipe tobacco and lots of roses. A bright personality, so attractive and food-friendly, yet complex. I actually think this could age for a while, and I’d like to retry it in three years. Wow. Old school, fresh and vibrant, a moderate 12.5% alcohol. This wine is made from Mencia grapes grown in granite and slate soils. (91 points)

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