Falcoeira Branco 2019 95WA
$89.99 US LOW
Falcoeira Branco, in the village of Santa Cruz, is thought of by locals as one of the very best grand cru vineyards in the area, displaying the fantastic depth and finesse of which the finest vineyards from this interior part of Galicia are capable. Falcoeira sits at 400 to 600 meters on narrow, vertiginous terraces clinging to steep slopes oriented to the southwest. The vineyard had been totally neglected, and it took over a decade to pull out the wild vegetation, rebuild the terraces, and re-plant 100 stone terraces with 2.75ha of vineyards. Vines are now around 20 years old, planted with biologically-diverse heritage clones from ancient vineyards of mencía, sousón, merenzao, and caíño tinto. The vineyard is split in two by a small access road. The fruit above the road is planted to red grapes for Falcoeira tinto, and the bottom, closer to the Bibei river, is 0.45ha planted to the white varieties godello, doña branca, and palomino that go into this cuvée Falcoeira Branco. The soils here are coarsely textured decomposed granite called sábrego. Falcoeira Branco is an intense, elegant, and profound wine, like the place it comes from, which makes it one of the most exciting wines in the world. Viticulture is organic, the grapes are hand-harvested, and wines are made with low intervention. Falcoeira Branco is extremely limited – 951 bottles produced.
• Site: Falcoeira at 400m to 600m
• Grapes: Godello, Doña Branca, and Palomino
• Soil: Decomposed granite – sábrego
• Vinification: Spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeast in 225L and 500L French oak barrels
• Aging: Ten months in 225L and 500L French oak barrels
95 pts Robert Parker Wine Advocate (Gutierrez)
This time I tasted the anticipated white wine from the new vineyards they planted at the Falcoeira, one of the most famous places in Valdeorras that had been lost. The 2019 Falcoeira Branco was produced with grapes from 0.45 hectares of vines from the lower terraces on granite soils harvested from the 6th of September after some hail in early August that almost didn't touch the vineyard. It's a blend of Godello, Doña Branca, Palomino and other grapes that achieved 13.5% alcohol and kept a pH of 3.29 after fermenting and maturing in 225- and 500-liter oak barrels for 10 months. This is in the process to get the organic certification. This wine used to contribute to the Branco de Santa Cruz, but it always had a distinct personality; and in 2019, they felt it was very good, enough to be bottled separately. It has a complex but subtle nose, with very good depth, very textured and with a stronger saline imprint on the finish. It's kaleidoscopic, nuanced, classical, not sharp, more in the style of a Meursault, with granite minerality and an almost salty finish. A great debut! Only 951 bottles were filled in June 2020.