Cume do Avia

Cume do Avia
Cume do Avia

The Story

We first met Diego Collarte on an unnamed road outside of Ribadavia, in Spain’s Ribeiro wine country. As Cume do Avia’s ringleader and instigator, he’s the one who claims responsibility for the “completely irrational decision” his clan made fifteen years ago.

Diego and his brother, Álvaro, grew up in Vigo, northwestern Spain’s largest metropolitan and industrial area. The bustle of city life wasn’t in their blood, so in their early twenties they embarked on the courageous restoration of vineyards in an ancient Galician ruin where their ancestors once lived. “I was not interested in material things. I only wanted to be satisfied with what I do,” Diego explained.

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Lay of the Land

Aside from the sentimental reasons for seeking their ancestral heritage as the starting point for their dream, there were also technical ones that play to the exceptional quality of their wines: the proximity of the land to the Atlantic; the south and west-facing orientation to maximize the sun’s heat in an otherwise cold region; the richness of the diverse soils, and the constant whistle of fierce winds that bring in fresh air and help grapes to stay dry and pest free. It’s an ideal place within this lush green landscape for their organic and biodynamic practices, extremely difficult tasks in the Ribeiro, a region Diego lovingly refers to as a “paradise for fungus.” (See a 3D map of the vineyard here. The vineyards are only to the left of the main road.)

In a land mostly known for granite, the diversity of soils in their vineyards adds great breadth to their wines, filling the gaps where granite alone can fall short. From one meter to the next, their vineyard soils can quickly change from granite to schist to slate—three of the greatest soil types that exemplify the concept the French refer to as a vin de terroir. The soil grain is equally diverse and randomly shifts back and forth between sand and clay, bringing even more range of palate textures and weight. Some soils are dark orange, white or brown, depending on the mineral makeup. Within only nine hectares (twenty-two acres), it’s an extremely diverse plot of land.

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Cume do Avia - 2019 Dos Canotos Brancellao

Price: $50.00
Size: 750ml
Availability: 

24+ in stock

Type of Wine: Red
Grape(s): Brancellao
Style: Mineral, Elegant and Aromatic

The Wine

Cume do Avia’s Brancellao is dainty, thin framed, soft spoken and subtly powerful. It’s equally as compelling as the other wines in their range of reds but its charm flows ceaselessly from the first sniff and sip. It’s more suave and mild when compared to some of Cume do Avia’s deeply textured, explosive reds. Diego says it’s a “very fluid and drinkable wine.” I agree, but I would add that it’s a bottle of pure joy and full of good surprises, especially when given the proper time to put all of its cards on the table.

At less than fifty cases produced (in 2017), Brancellao is still the largest production of their single-varietal wines. It’s extremely fresh, bright and unusually transparent, and reveals many facets in time, all filling out together as it unfolds. One moment it speaks of Italy’s alpine influenced wines, Premetta and Schiava, or France’s Massif Central red, Saint Pourçain, or an "infusion" style Pinot Noir from Burgundy, Poulsard from the Jura, or lightly extracted old school California Russian River Pinot Noirs from the days of the 1980s and 1990s, Williams Selyem’s coastal vineyard sites with decades of cellar time.

Despite its differences with the other reds from this micro-bodega, this along with their blended wines, Colleita Tino and Dos Canotos Tinto, is more typical of a red wine on the lab report while the other single varietal reds can have freakish numbers similar to a white wines from the Loire Valley's Brézé hill.

Aside from the naturally cool temperatures of the region, the freshness of the Brancellao comes from a variety of other factors. The grapes are picked on the earlier side of ripeness to preserve higher-toned fruit characters because it doesn’t have the same turbo charge of natural acidity found in their other single varietal wines from the collection: Caiño Longo, Ferrón and Sousón. The fermentation has half the stems included, which costs the wine a little in acidity but adds freshness and spice to what may otherwise leave the wine too top heavy in fruit and floral characteristics—not a bad thing, but the stems were a good offset. It spends only six months in barrel before bottling in order to preserve all of its fresh charm.

In the glass it smells and tastes of the first red berries of the season, sweet green citrus and bay spice. The palate ceaselessly grows in depth and weight at a constant pace, with a start as light as a darker rosé which evolves into a wine that delivers on complexity and weight, like a fresh, cool vintage red Burgundy from a high elevation site on stony soils. That said, I have no illusion about this wine’s pedigree when comparing it to Burgundy because it is not constructed like one. It was crafted for a shorter life, but over hours of tasting it finds unexpected heights that show what its potential could be if crafted with the intention to age longer. And often the second day is even better than the first.

(See a 3D map of the vineyard here. The vineyards are only to the left of the main road.)

INFORMATION DISCLAIMER

Terroir: Many factors are at play in the Ribeiro: the proximity of the land to the Atlantic; the south and west-facing orientation to maximize the sun’s heat in an otherwise cold region; the constant whistle of fierce winds that bring in fresh air and help grapes to stay dry and relatively pest free; and the richness of the diverse soils. The bedrock and soil in Cume do Avia’s vineyards adds great breadth to their wines and from one meter to the next they can quickly change between igneous rocks and metamorphic. The soil grain is equally diverse and randomly shifts back and forth between sand and clay. The soils are dark orange, white or brown, depending on the mineral makeup. It’s an extremely complex area within only nine hectares (twenty-two acres).

Vinification: Naturally fermented with 50% stem inclusion for one month with an “infusion style” extraction with gentle pushdowns of the cap by hand to keep it moist and extract as little as possible. Malolactic fermentation takes place–noted because in many of Cume do Avia’s red wines it does not.

Aging: Aged in ancient barrels for two months then racked to stainless steel for three months. Bottled without fining but lightly filtered.

(Subjective and based on young wines)

General Impressions:

Extremely Elegant, Bright Red and Dark Fruit, Transparent, Aromatic, Ethereal

Mineral Impressions:

Lightly SaltySaltyMetalMineralWet StoneFlintGraphiteReductivePetrol

Ageability:

Drink YoungShort-Term BenefitsLong-Term BenefitsUnknown

Technical Precision:

NatureModerateNurture

Intensity:

SubtleVigorousElectric

Core:

LitheMediumDense

Acidity:

LightMediumFullElectric

Texture:

LitheMediumDense

Body:

LightMediumFull

Tannin:

NoneLightMediumFull

Finish:

FrontMiddleBack

Wood Presence:

NoneSubtleNoticeable

The Vineyard

Soil:

Stony, sandy, clay soils derived from a granodiorite rock (a very hard igneous rock similar to granite), gneiss (a metamorphic stone) bedrock with shale, quartzite.

Farming:

SustainableOrganic CertifiedBiodynamic CertifiedUncertified Naturalist

While they are certified organic they also practice biodynamic farming, but without certification.

Irrigation:

ForbiddenNeverSometimes

Vine Age:

Planted in 2008-2009

Altitude (meters):

290-310

Aspect:

South to Southwest

Slope:

Medium slope on wide terraces
(typical numbers; not vintage specific)

Enological Additions:

Sulfur Dioxide

Total SO2:

None AddedVery LowLowMediumHigh

Alcohol:

12.0-12.8

pH:

3.45-3.65

Titratable Acidity:

4.5-5.5

Residual Sugar:

Dry

Notes compiled in 2019 by Ted Vance (The Source) and Diego Collarte (Cume do Avia)

About The Wine

Cume do Avia’s Brancellao is dainty, thin framed, soft spoken and subtly powerful. It’s equally as compelling as the other wines in their range of reds but its charm flows ceaselessly from the first sniff and sip. It’s more suave and mild when compared to some of Cume do Avia’s deeply textured, explosive reds. Diego says it’s a “very fluid and drinkable wine.” I agree, but I would add that it’s a bottle of pure joy and full of good surprises, especially when given the proper time to put all of its cards on the table.

At less than fifty cases produced (in 2017), Brancellao is still the largest production of their single-varietal wines. It’s extremely fresh, bright and unusually transparent, and reveals many facets in time, all filling out together as it unfolds. One moment it speaks of Italy’s alpine influenced wines, Premetta and Schiava, or France’s Massif Central red, Saint Pourçain, or an “infusion” style Pinot Noir from Burgundy, Poulsard from the Jura, or lightly extracted old school California Russian River Pinot Noirs from the days of the 1980s and 1990s, Williams Selyem’s coastal vineyard sites with decades of cellar time.

Despite its differences with the other reds from this micro-bodega, this along with their blended wines, Colleita Tino and Dos Canotos Tinto, is more typical of a red wine on the lab report while the other single varietal reds can have freakish numbers similar to a white wines from the Loire Valley’s Brézé hill.

Aside from the naturally cool temperatures of the region, the freshness of the Brancellao comes from a variety of other factors. The grapes are picked on the earlier side of ripeness to preserve higher-toned fruit characters because it doesn’t have the same turbo charge of natural acidity found in their other single varietal wines from the collection: Caiño Longo, Ferrón and Sousón. The fermentation has half the stems included, which costs the wine a little in acidity but adds freshness and spice to what may otherwise leave the wine too top heavy in fruit and floral characteristics—not a bad thing, but the stems were a good offset. It spends only six months in barrel before bottling in order to preserve all of its fresh charm.

In the glass it smells and tastes of the first red berries of the season, sweet green citrus and bay spice. The palate ceaselessly grows in depth and weight at a constant pace, with a start as light as a darker rosé which evolves into a wine that delivers on complexity and weight, like a fresh, cool vintage red Burgundy from a high elevation site on stony soils. That said, I have no illusion about this wine’s pedigree when comparing it to Burgundy because it is not constructed like one. It was crafted for a shorter life, but over hours of tasting it finds unexpected heights that show what its potential could be if crafted with the intention to age longer. And often the second day is even better than the first.

(See a 3D map of the vineyard here. The vineyards are only to the left of the main road.)