One of the most stunning landscapes in Spain is located in the heart of Galiciain in an area known as the Ribeira Sacra (Sacred Banks). Ever since the Romans inhabited the area, people have been growing grapes on the steep terraces lining the two rivers that form the denomination. Working these lands is extremely difficult as the terraces in some areas are so steep that all the grapes have to be brought in on a dumb-waiter. Galicia is the least prosperous region of Spain, but Ribeira Sacra might have some of the best vineyards in the world. Though it has been long overlooked, it seems as though that is starting to change — and this wine is only one example why people are taking notice.
D. Ventura is a new project by Ramón Losada and his family utilizing old family holdings in the region. Their holding are small — about three hectares and family-owned. There are currently three vineyard sites. Caneiro is in an area known as Amandi. This area has been famous throughout time as being one of the best sites for making wines. Caneiro in particular is unique with steep terraces lining the river. The video below provides a visual of the landscape.
The Losada family recognized the potential here and called on an old winemaker friend to help them craft the wine that they knew Ribeira Sacra could produce. Viña Caneiro is sourced from the over 80-year-old vines of the Amandi vineyard and is fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts. It was fermented in stainless steel and saw no oak. All farming is done by hand and Ramón, with the help of Gerardo Mendez (Do Ferreiro). In addition to taking an organic approach to farming, winemaking has also changed. They only use indigenous yeast and none of their wines are filtered or cold stabilized. Made from 100% Mencia, which usually produces a fruit and mineral driven medium-bodied wine. The older it gets, it becomes more elegant and complex.
The ’07 D. Ventura “Viña Caneiro” has beautiful aromatics of strawberry, raspberry, fruit rollup and dried flowers. Medium bodied, with lively acidity but soft, light tannins. Strawberry, sour cherry and currant on the palate — a little floral with some green vegetable and spice. The nose really leads, but the flavors follow and don’t disappoint. I was really taken with the aromatics and the brightness of fruit. 13% alcohol and very food friendly. Imported by De Maison Selections. Recommended.
I tasted this along with the Ribeira Sacra Do Burat, which was not nearly as bright — it actually tasted a bit muddy and a little tired compared to the Viña Caneiro.