Ronsel do Sil is situated in one of the world's most extreme grape growing regions, the Ribeira Sacra DO of northwestern Spain. With vineyards planted throughout treacherously steep slopes (ranging from 300 to 700 meters above sea level), all pruning, maintenance, and harvest is carried out by hand on old terraces built by the ancient Romans called Bancales. Maria José Yravedra is an absolute visionary for the region, producing wines that not only show incredible varietal integrity, but she accomplishes this through natural farming and biodynamic principles, making around 45,000 bottles a year from their 10 hectare estate. Her philosophy is based on what she calls 'heroic' viticulture, reflecting a sincere balance with nature, though love and compromise with the land. Aside from composting each year with gorse (the last harvest's pruning and remains), sheep graze the vineyards once a year to add their natural flare and keep excess plants at bay. In the cellar, an absolutely minimal approach is the secret to each perfect bottling, with a gravity flow system instead of pumps, all old wood and concrete use for aging, and very little sulfur additions, letting the native grapes of the area tell their individual story.
ronsel do sil vel'uveyra
mencia, garnacha, & negreda
The Ronsel do Sil Vel’uveyra comes from the estate’s steep terraced vines that differ in age and are picked at a range of altitudes. A blend of predominately Mencia, along with some Garnacha and the local Negreda, the grapes are hand harvested and brought into the cellar for a cold (pre-fermentation) soaking, before entering into large 5,000-liter oak foudres for natural fermentation, and 8 months of aging. The expressive result has a vibrant nose of red fruits, spice, and hints of licorice, while leading to a soft and supple palate of plums, cherries, light herbs, and pepper. This northwestern Spanish red is perfect drinking wine for many foods, as the fresh acidity and soft yet bright fruit is very complementary at the table.
ronsel do sil alpendre
100% merenzao (trousseau)
The Ronsel do Sil ‘Alpendre’ Merenzao comes from some of the most intense slopes of the region, situated at 500-750 meters above sea level, and all from east facing mountainsides with a 50% slope. This dramatic terroir is full of granite and slate soils and 50 year-old vine Merenzao, which is the local name for the Trousseau grape. Hand harvesting is mandatory here, and can also be very dangerous, in order to get the grapes into the cellar for a natural fermentation in 2500 liter oak foudres. Once complete, the wine is placed into just a few neutral French barrels of 228 and 500 liters, for about 6 months before it is then bottled (only 1,700 bottles were made). The resulting wine is alive and expressive beyond description, with fresh and spicy aromas of red fruits that jump out of the glass, alongside a clear and distinctive elegance that somehow is captured in smell. The palate is long and seductive, with fresh raspberry and black cherry, hints of spice, and pretty dark flowers, with acidity to keep the mouth intrigued, and a finish that is complex and contemplative.
ronsel do sil ourive
100% dona branca
The Ronsel do Sil Ourive comes from an incredible bush-vine vineyard at 550 meters above sea level in the Val do Bibei, made of entirely Dona Branca. Remarkably steep slopes cause for a mandatory hand-harvest, where the fruit is then brought to the cellar for a 24-hour maceration with the skins before pressing and a natural fermentation in 300-liter French oak barrels. A six-month rest took place in these same barrels, with no battonage, and then was bottled with only a touch of sulfites. This white is a stunning example of the local Dona Branca grape, offering intense exotic aromas, apricot, and very integrated hints of wood. In the mouth, the texture is unctuous yet has a clean and driven core underneath the layers of spice, ripe tree fruits, and balsamic notes. A very long finish lingers while offering a rollercoaster of fruit and spice and mineral, built for complex dishes and wonderful cheeses.
ronsel do sil vel'uveyra crianza
mencia, garnacha, & negreda
The Ronsel do Sil Vel’uveyra Crianza comes from gorgeous and steep vineyard sites that range from 10 years to 60 years old. The grapes must be hand-harvested, and the blend of 85% Mencia, 10% Garnacha, and 5% Negreda are brought into the cellar where half of the grapes are left in whole cluster and half are de-stemmed for a cold maceration. After nearly 2 days, the grapes are put into large (5000 liter) Oak Foudres where a natural fermentation takes place, before the wine is moved to used barrique and tonneau for 8 months. Hardly any sulfites are added before the bottling process, adding to the final wine’s expressive disposition. Wildly aromatic, the bright and spicy fruit that shows itself on the nose, also play well on the tongue, with hints of herbs, ripe red and blue berries, and a fresh finish packed full of acidity.
ronsel do sil al pe del cañón
caiño bravo, caiño longo, caiño tinto
The Ronsel do Sil Al Pie del Cañón comes from three distinctly different grapes that all carry the first name of Caiño, and second name of Bravo, Longo, and Tinto. In 2016, the winery made three different wines from these three grapes and learned about the characteristics that each had, yet seemed to be incomplete. 2017 came with a blend of the three to create the perfect world of the Caiño varieties. After a careful vineyard selection, the grapes were destemmed, fermented, and aged together in one single 300-liter barrel for 8 months. Bottled with only a touch of sulfites, this intriguing wine comes together in the glass with an incredible essence of these ancient varieties. Smoky aromas, licorice, and black fruits shoot forth from the glass and foreshadow a similar profile on the palate. Deep and dark in the mouth with fruit and structure, but light and bright acidity compliment fully to keep the mouth refreshed and captivated, as the wine is far from heavy. This red will age well or can open with decanting for a wide array of cuisine.
ronsel do sil vel'uveyra godello
godello, treixadura, & dona branca
The Ronsel do Sil Vel’uveyra Godello comes from some of the estate’s higher elevation steep vineyard sites that range from 25 to 50 years old. The grapes always are hand-harvested, and are a blend of 3 native varieties of Galicia: 85% Godello, 10% Treixadura, and 5% Dona Branca. Once brought to the cellar, the grapes are gently pressed and naturally ferment in both 300 and 600 liter French oak barrels, where they then rest (with no battonage) for 6 months before bottling. The aromatics are deep with not only fruity and citrus notes, but also lifted floral tones and hints of wild herbs. The wine is very full and creamy in the mouth, yet fresh and alive with white stone fruit, incredible acidity and with a long finish of nuts, crushed rock, and citrus fruits.
ronsel do sil pórtico da gloria
The Ronsel do Sil ‘Pórtico da Gloria’ comes from two gorgeous hillside vineyards named Langullo and Sacardebois, where the Brancellao is harvested by hand and brought into the cellar for a natural fermentation in stainless steel. These two plots have granite and slate soils respectively, and give so much drive and terroir to the finished wine, showcasing the extreme earth of the region. Some of the grapes are de-stemmed, and some are left in whole clusters before a light foot crushing and then primary fermentation. Once complete, the wine is placed into neutral French barrique for malolactic fermentation and about 8 months of aging. The finished wine has a lovely savory aroma that is backed with red berries and dark red cherries. The palate has a characteristic waxy fruit note, enough acidity to accompany its softer tannins, and a long spicy finish that stays light and fresh.