Siete Vidas, Cangas DOP, Asturias
Siete Vidas (actually called Bodega VidAs [Vides y Vinos Asturianos]) is owned by young couple Beatriz Pérez and Pepe Flóres, making wine Cangas del Narcea, in cold, wet Asturias (just east of Galicia) from rare native and local grape varieties. In addition to its harsh climate, vineyards in this area are very steep and intensely slate soiled. Cangas was a thriving wine production region for centuries, though this was nearly lost to mining in the 20th century. VidAs is one of only six wineries in the region, now at the turn of the 21st century, working at recuperating their viticultural heritage.
Asturias has no shortage of interesting grapes--endemic to the region (and both very rare) are Albarín Blanco (genetically distinct from Albariño) and Carrasquín--coinsidently, I find these two grapes to be the most fascinating, aesthetically, of the region. Also grown, and producing great wines are Albarín Negro (Alfrcheiro), Verdejo Negro (Trousseau/Merenzao) and Mencia for reds, and Moscatel de Grano Menudo for whites.
Asturias and Cangas is definitely the most beautiful part of Spain I have visited, I felt as though I had traveled to the Middle Ages. Due to the incredibly climate, steep grade of its vineyards (above 30%), making all work necessary to do by hand, and altitude (above 1500 feet) Cangas is one of only three Spanish regions to earn the Heroic Viticulture designation from its government (Ribeira Sacra and Priorato being the others).
Bodega VidAs farms organically the vast majority of the time, but due to the particularly wet climate, occasionally it is necessary to intervene to save a crop, though usually only using elemental sulfur or copper.
Bodega VidAs has two brands: Siete Vidas and Cien Montañas. Siete Vidas is for their more traditional, regional blends and stainless steel Albarín Blanco. Siete Vidas refers to cats' lives, which, as opposed to nine like in the States, apparently only have seven in Spain.
The Cien Montañas label is their equivalent for reserve wines, single varietal bottlings, built to age and produced only in the best years. The Cien Montañas (One Hundred Mountains) refers to the abundance of mountains surrounding Cangas del Narcea, and is the title of the hymn of Cangas ("En el media de Cien Montañas").
"Siete Vidas" Albarín Blanco 2013
Albarín Blanco is a native grape of Asturias (genetically distinct from Albariño). From 30 to 60 year old vines in the (relatively) warmer Ibias district of Cangas, it is bright, mineral, with bright fruit and herbal/sencha character. 2 tons/acre. Stainless fermented & aged, no ML. A very rare grape, only 100 acres of this vine exist, though as the region is refocusing on its viticulture, more are being planted. 12.5% abv.
"Siete Vidas" Tinto 2015
Fresh, stainless fermented and age, the Tinto is a blend of all four red grapes found in Cangas: Albarín Negro (aka Alfrocheiro, 40%), Carrasquín (indigenous to Cangas, 30%) and Verdejo Negro (aka Trosseau, 30%), and Mencia
"Siete Vidas" Roble 2014
A blend of more traditional varieites of Cangas: Albarín Negro, Carrasquín and Verdejo Negro (Mencia is not included as it is the most recent arrival to the region). From the Carboiro vineyard, located in the Ibias region of the Cangas DOP, which has particularly slate-rich soils and receives ample sunlight--very important in cold, wet Asturias.
1/3 whole cluster, uncrushed, 2/3's destemmed and lightly crushed, placed on top of the whole clusters. Fermented and aged 8 months in a 3000 liter French oak foudre. Max temp 86 degrees, native yeasts. Light bodied, balanced and food friendly. Bright purple fruit with a deep herbal quality, a little high toned oak note.
"Cien Montañas" Carrasquín 2013
Carrasquin is Cangas' rarest grape and I believe its most special. It is truly an indigenous grape from Cangas and I'm unaware of its existence anywhere else. It is capable of particular depth, structure and complexity.
Bodega Vidas' 2013 Carrasquín is from the steep, slate slopes of the particularly chilly Cangas region of the Cangas DOP. 30 to 60 year old vines on very steep, shaley slopes. It is a complex and masculine wine, deeply herbal and mushroomy, with dark fruits and smoke. Medium bodied with very fine tannins, it should age wonderfully.
Harvested by hand (the only way possible in Cangas), crushed by foot. 1,200 bottles were produced--3 barrels--which were especially fun to watch develop during the wine's crianza/elevage in them, and later to taste the final product. 2 French (1 new, 1 used), 1 American (used). Native yeasts, low fermentation temperatures from small volumes in open top containers.
Alc by Vol: 12.80
SO2: 25 Free/65 Total