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Spanish Wine Exclusives

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Adega D’Fran

Borne out of centuries of vine growing tradition, Adega D´Fran is a very small family owned winery in the heart of the Ribeira Sacra DO. producing wines of immense character and natural purity from the top red grape of the region, Mencía. The core of the estate is its 12 old vine, steeply sloped, and stunningly picturesque vineyard plots along the Sil River, set in the most prestigious sub-zone of the appellation, Amandi.

Here the viticulture and his two wines, Estrela and Camiño Novo, are bound in tradition. Here “tradition” is not a romantic nod to old ways long eclipsed by industrial agriculture. Here tradition is long hours of hard work by a father, son, and now grandson tending the centuries old, terraced plots of their ancestors to make a humble, yet noble product, wine. As it happens their naturally oriented vineyard work and winemaking style perfectly coax out the character of their outstanding terroir in the glass.

The plots are located at varying altitudes and orientations, stretching from the town of Amandi to Doade. While the pint-sized winery itself is comprised of just a few stainless steel tanks and a mini bottling and labeling machine in the basement of the family house in the tiny village of Vilachá de Doade.
The vines range from 80 to 100+ years old and many of the steep stone terraces, called bancales, are more than 500 years old. Vine cultivation along the Sil dates back to Roman times. Together the plots make up 1.6 hectares of vineyards of 98% Mencía and 2% Garnacha vines. The Garnacha adds acidity to the blend, and is another of the old ways of naturally maintaining balance without the interventionist practice of adding tartaric acid, which is often poorly integrated and can add an artificial character to the wine.
The soil in the central Amandi plots near the town of Amandi is pure red slate, and is the source of the intense minerality in the wine. Because of the wide width of the Sil in Amandi its vineyards are better ventilated than eastward toward the town of Doade, which helps maintain good vine and grape health. As you near Doade the soil becomes more solid slate, and the ventilation is also lessened because as the width of the Sil river narrows.
The wines are naturally made, in part out of necessity. The vineyard slopes can be more than a 70% grade in sections so that almost all of the vineyard work is done by hand, and sometimes with the help of donkeys—especially at harvest. No chemical treatments are used except for caldo bordeles applications after flowering.
The winemaking style is traditional and as non-interventionist as possible. Pure, rich fruit and well-balanced acidity that reflects the land is their goal. Considering the quality and age of their vines they could make a super concentrated modern style luxury cuvée (at even more minuscule quantities), but that is simply not part of the equation at this winery. Simply put, Estrela and Camiño Novo are a labor of love and tradition from a family’s own hands and their own hearts.