Monday 22 October saw Valencia´s Federation of Sumilleres welcoming DO Monterrei for a comprehensive tasting of their wines. Some 60 professionals gathered at La Matandeta in the Albufera for a presentation by Luis Paadin of Galicia’ s younger DO which produces both white and red wines. Luis is a former president of Galicia´s sumilleres and a judge in International Competitions.
The session was opened by Marilu Martin (responsible for training new sumilleres) accompanied by David Ramos who is newly elected president of the federation.
Historically the DO which is located near to Ourense around the towns of Oimbra, Monterrei and Verin has been dated from archeological remains to Roman times and when they left, the Church, in the form of the monasteries took over. With just short of 400 growers the DO has some 24 bodegas and a modern history going back to the 60´s with the creation of a Cooperative bodega. By the early 90’s vineyards were being abandoned an income from them was insufficient but in 1994 fortune revived and the current phase began.
The vineyards are in two sub-zones and has soils made up from sand, granite and schist. They are low in pH and have a complex mix of vegetal materials. The white wines have six permitted varieties of which three are dominant, Godello (Verdello), Treixadura (Verdello Louro) and Albariño.
The reds have five permitted varieties of which two, Mencia and Arautxa (Tempranillo) are dominant.
In both cases, the remaining varieties are grown in small amounts and added as ‘seasoning’ to the wines by some bodegas.
We commenced the tasting with the whites . These are wines made generally from Verdello, or with Verdello Louro and/or Albariño in a blend. They are generally crisp wines with good acidity and varying degrees of tropical fruit, depth, spice and balance. This was not our first tasting of these wines but it was the first opportunity to taste so comprehensive a selection at leisure. The wines were mainly from the 2017 vintage with some 2016´s in the selection. They are generally very pale in colour from almost steel to pale yellow.
In particular we liked Alma de Blanco 2017 from Pazo das Tapias, (for it’s balance of acidity and full tropical fruit), Lobarzán 2016 from Castro de Lobarzán, (pure Verdello and only 800 bottles which needed a few minutes to evolve in the glass – well worth the wait) , Ladairo 2017 from Bodega Ladairo (which was fruity and spicy and grew in the mouth),
Setembro 2017 from Pazo de Valdeconde (best blend of all three varieties) the Gargalo 2017 from Bodegas Gargalo (which stood out at the Siglo XXI tasting, and the Stibadia 2016 from Bodega Tabú which benefitted from the extra year in bottle.
The red wines were much more varied in depth and flavour.
We liked the Alto de Bocelo 2016 from Bodega Trasdovento (which was creamy, with mature fruit and well-balanced), the Crego e Monaguillo 2017 (which had younger, raspberry fruit) and the Setembro 2017 (a pleasant well balanced Mencia) .
Our overall impression was that the 2017 vintage is quite acidic generally, the 2016 was better balanced and the best white wines were those which had three varieties in a blend. The reds were too varied to draw general conclusions.
It is always a pleasure to accompany the Federation at one of their tastings and we thank Marilu and David for the invitation and look forward to the wines from Monterrei the next time that they visit Valencia.