This is a kitchen sink blend of Mencía, Domingo Pérez (Trousseau), Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet), Mouratón, Caiño and Brancellao from a few different sites within the Chantada and Ribeira do Miño zones of the Ribeira Sacra appellation. It was fermented with whole clusters in foudre and aged in a combination of foudre and 500L used barrels.
Castro Candaz is a new project from Raúl Pérez and Rodri Méndez, the duo behind Forjas de Salnés in the Rías Baixas. While Raúl’s two most famous Ribeira Sacra bottlings, La Penitencia and El Pecado, come from the Amandi district of the appellation, the fruit for these wines comes from Chantada. In Chantada, the Sil River widens, the slopes become less steep and the soils feature more granite than slate. It is also notably cooler than the Amandi area. “If we were going to try to make wines here like El Pecado and La Penitencia,” Raúl explains, “we would harvest later due to the lower temperatures. But the idea of this project is to keep the wines at 13% alcohol or less, so we actually harvest earlier than we do in Amandi.”
The bodega is another of Raúl’s “fake-it-until-you-make-it” facilities. “The guy who owns it refuses to sell it to me,” Raúl says. “But he also doesn’t charge me rent. It’s very curious.” There is no de-stemmer here, nor would the meager electricity be sufficient to power one, so the fermentations proceed with 100% whole clusters. There is Mencía, to be sure, but also significant amounts of Alicante Bouschet and Domingo Pérez (one of the dizzying array of names used here for Trousseau).
Wine Advocate – “The refreshing 2017 Castro Candaz has some faintly reductive notes akin to a struck matchstick that I actually like. This has a more wild character than other zones in Ribeira Sacra-it reminds me of the herbs and flowers that grow wild. It has surprisingly refined tannins and a very elegant mouthfeel. Some 6,000 bottles were produced.” (91+ Pts)