Adega Saíñas

The Story

In 2018, Javier Fernández González made a phone call that would alter the course of his already quietly celebrated Ribeira Sacra winery. Born into a family with a history of farming, Javier’s dream of the future went beyond the continuation of his father’s construction business, where he worked during the week. On weekends he focused on a winemaking project with the vineyards, most of which came from the family of his wife, María Jesús. He would go on to increase his family’s vineyard holdings to five hectares, with many old-vine parcels of local, indigenous varieties, along with a large focus on Mencía, the most widely planted red grape variety in Ribeira Sacra.

I met Javier once, before he fell ill, but it was obvious that he was a hard worker, as evidenced by the vineyards he planted and the strength of his hands, along with his reputation in the region. My experience with him was of a quiet man, not only because of the language barrier between us—what with his lack of English and my (for now) rudimentary Spanish—but because, as his family says, that’s just the way he was. Not only was he a workaholic, it was clear that he was a deep thinker about his life and what he was doing. Sadly, a few months after my visit he received a diagnoses of cancer. It took only a few months before he succumbed.

Read more

Lay of the Land

Ribeiras do Sil, A Ribeira Sacra Subzone

Between the rivers Miño and Sil, the Cabe flows through Monforte de Lemos, the historical and closest hub for the Ribeira Sacra. As this small river meanders southwest into the Ribeira Sacra subzone, Ribeiras do Miño, eight or nine kilometers before it spills into the Sil, are the winery and vineyards of Saiñas.

Saiñas is in a highly polycultural agricultural land with expansive natural biodiversity. Like much of northwestern Spain and Portugal, most families in the countryside grow a multitude of different seasonal crops, including grapes, mostly for personal consumption, but the excess is either exchanged with others or sold at local markets. The average countryside galego is quite capable in growing things.

Read more

Adega Saiñas - 2018 Ribeira Sacra, Castro das Saíñas, Tinto

Price: $32.00
Size: 750ml
Availability: 

Out of stock

Type of Wine: Red
Grape(s): 100% Mencía
Style: Mineral, Rustic, Medium Body, Elegant and Aromatic

The Wine

Early in the 1990s, Javier took on the task to replant a mostly abandoned, precariously steep, two-hectare granite hill he would later call Castro das Saíñas. Its eastern and upper section is sunk back into the hill in a sort of miniature amphitheater, facing south and slightly southwest. The lower section, a granite outcrop has the feeling that it protrudes out of the hill and overhead, and most of the terraces are chaotically laid out because of the amount of granite boulders on the hill. Planted entirely to Mencía, the vines grow on thin topsoil composed of extremely fine-grained granite sand derived from the bedrock. Castro das Saíñas also has the added advantage of thick, wild and green forest below the vineyard and to the west, patches of indigenous trees and other cultivated orchards above and around it.

INFORMATION DISCLAIMER

Terroir: A cold climate wine grown on a steeply terraced granite hill next to the Cabe River, a tributary of the Sil River.

Vinification: 100% destemmed Mencía fermented in open 1000-liter vats without the addition of yeasts. Gentle extraction (almost infusion) with a wetting of the cap twice each day. Fermentation and maceration lasts for around 30 days. After pressing and after 24 hours of decantation, it is transferred to the barrels where it makes the malolactic in a natural way.

Aging: 11 months in 400-liter used French oak barrels.

(Subjective and based on young wines)

Technical Precision:

NatureModerateNurture

The Vineyard

Soil:

Granite bedrock with sandy granite topsoil derived from the bedrock

Farming:

SustainableOrganic CertifiedBiodynamic CertifiedUncertified Naturalist

Converting to organic starting in 2018 and expected to complete around 2024, or so.

Irrigation:

ForbiddenNeverSometimes

Vine Age:

Planted in the early 1990s

Altitude (meters):

270-320

Aspect:

South

Slope:

Extremely Steep
(typical numbers; not vintage specific)

Enological Additions:

Sulfites

Total SO2:

None AddedVery LowLowMediumHigh

About The Wine

Early in the 1990s, Javier took on the task to replant a mostly abandoned, precariously steep, two-hectare granite hill he would later call Castro das Saíñas. Its eastern and upper section is sunk back into the hill in a sort of miniature amphitheater, facing south and slightly southwest. The lower section, a granite outcrop has the feeling that it protrudes out of the hill and overhead, and most of the terraces are chaotically laid out because of the amount of granite boulders on the hill. Planted entirely to Mencía, the vines grow on thin topsoil composed of extremely fine-grained granite sand derived from the bedrock. Castro das Saíñas also has the added advantage of thick, wild and green forest below the vineyard and to the west, patches of indigenous trees and other cultivated orchards above and around it.