After devastating frost in 2017 and killer mildew in 2018, the vintage for the red 2019 Gaba do Xil Tinto from Valdeorras was healthier and the crop was good, save for some hail in specific vineyards during the summer. It was a ripe, healthy and balanced year. This is a young, unoaked Mencía with 13.44% alcohol that fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel, where it matured for 12 months before bottling. It's intensely aromatic and expressive, varietal and with the wild rusticity of the zone. The palate is medium-bodied, with very fine tannins and a soft mouthfeel. 96,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in August 2020.
Drink 2022 - 2024
Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate (Feb 2022)
Lots of dark berries with spice and rust character. It’s medium-bodied with dark fruit and pepper. Drink now.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Oct 2021)
About this WINE
Telmo Rodriguez is one of the great Spanish winemakers. He travelled and learnt for many years before returning home to Rioja. In addition, he supervises négociant projects throughout Spain. One of his most acclaimed projects is in Ribera del Duero.
The charismatic Telmo has something of the prodigal about him, having now returned to his Riojan homestead to energise the great house of Remelluri. One should not overlook, however, his other properties, which explore some of the lesser-known areas of Spain and in each case seek to make superlative and characterful wines. Ribera del Duero is far from a lesser-known area, so it is to Telmo’s great credit, but to no-one’s surprise, that the wines he makes at Matallana are amongst the very best here too.
Mencía is the primary grape of the Bierzo region and its undisputed star, covering nearly two-thirds of the vineyards. This red grape variety is grown almost exclusively in north-western part of Spain (especially in the DOs of Galicia, Valdeorras, Monterrei, and Ribeira Sacra). Mencía ripens early, by mid-September, and is well suited to the maritime climate of Bierzo where autumn rains are quite common.
Mencía has only recently come into spotlight as a quality, potential-laden grape variety. When properly made, it offers fascinating wines across a contrasting spectrum of styles; on the one end are fruity and forward wines with supple tannins and succulent fruit. On the other end are more concentrated, powerful styles with an exotic earthiness, smooth tannins and an enviable reflection of the minerally-rich Bierzo terroir.
Mencía is capable of making excellent wine on its own, with no need to sacrifice its unique character in blends with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot that are commonplace elsewhere in Spain.