Highlights: Bodegas Albamar Fusco Mencia 2018, Ribeira Sacra, Spain

Xurxo Alba’s family has been farming and making Albariño in Rïas Baixas O Salnés region, near the Atlantic Ocean, for generations (Alba+mar). It wasn’t until Xurxo finished his oenology studies that the Alba family started bottling and commercializing their wines in 2006. The Alba family owns 2.5 hectares, and sources approximately 10 hectares throughout the region. This old vine organically farmed Mencia comes from very steep terraced slopes of decayed granite in Ribeira Sacra’s Lugo zone, around Chantada.

After a native ferment in stainless over three weeks, this remained in stainless over the winter, and was bottled the following spring without filtration or fining. ⁠This is naked Mencia, and all the better for it, expressing exuberant floral violets, perfumed musk, wild blueberries, fragrant plums, black raspberries, subtle scrubby green branch / herbaceousness on a finessed, elegant, slighter palate. Tannins are fine, lightly grippy, and ideally in place to usher this to a haunting finish. Certainly showing its kinship here with Dão’s Jaen, and quite reminiscent of a Loire Cabernet Franc. What a beautiful, light touch here, upon what is often an over-oaked, over-extracted grape. Fusco is Galician for night or darkness, referring to the fact that this was first red Xurxo Alba added to his collection of Albariño. 93/100

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Treve Ring

Treve Ring is a wine writer and editor, judge and speaker, and perpetual traveller. [She is also Correspondent Anorak.]