Cultivated since Roman times, Ribeira Sacra’s steep terraced vineyards are some of the most picturesque and treacherous to work in the world of wine - think Douro, Cote Rotie, or Mosel. Winegrowing here is not for the faint of heart; it takes spirited determination, unwieldy optimism, a sense of tradition, and a willingness to collaborate. All of these qualities are embodied by the young Pedro Rodríguez of Guímaro. The winery’s name Guimaro, which means “rebel” in Gallego, is a nickname of Pedro’s grandfather.
Bodegas Guimaro was established in 1991, located in the Amandi area, Ribeira Sacra’s most prime subzone. The vineyards are south facing and planted on slate just above the river Sil. Guimaro was one of the first adegas to join the appellation in 1996.
In the early 2000’s a family friend introduced Pedro - who by then was in charge of his family estate - to the great winemaker Raul Perez of Bierzo. Raul helped Pedro see the potential of his old vine holdings to produce profoundly expressive and age-worthy single plot wines. This led to significant improvements in the vineyard, such as reducing yields of the commonly over-cropped Mencía grape, eliminating chemicals in the vineyards, and paying attention to the different plots’ expositions, which greatly helps to preserve natural acidity in the grapes.
Old-fashioned winemaking methods were reclaimed as well: wild yeast fermentation, foot treading in open-top vessels, raspón (stems) inclusion, working with low sulfur, and aging in used barrels. Never resting on his laurels, Pedro is leading his estate to organic certification.
These are truly special wines displaying what Ribera Sacra can achieve; balance and harmony between the aromatics, acidity, body, and tannins. The Camino Real is one of the best wines I tasted, dollar for dollar, this year and I taste a lot of wines! - PJ Wine Director
Guimaro Camino Real Mencia Ribeira Sacra 2018
Shelf Price $26.99
Sale Price $22.97
94 pts Wine Advocate
The other red, first produced in 2016, the 2018 Camiño Real was produced with grapes from old vines (over 50 years old) in vineyards in Amandi, one of the subzones of Ribeira Sacra, combining orientations, altitudes and soils. It could be around 80% Mencía and the rest local grapes intermixed in the old vineyards that are always a field blend, with Brancellao, Merenzao, Sousón, Caíño… They fermented with some 60% full clusters in troncoconic oak vats with indigenous yeasts and a total maceration time of 45 days. The wine matured in a combination of 500-liter oak barrels and 5,000-liter oak vats for 10 to 12 months. It has a super-explosive nose that is floral and perfumed—an explosion of violets. In 2018, they have managed to get the fresh profile they wanted, using less barrique and more vat. It has a vibrant palate, with pungent flavors, great freshness and fine minerality. This is hands-down the best Camiño Real, getting close to the quality level of some of the single-vineyard bottlings. It’s one of the wines from the new official category called Viño de Garda (vin de garde). This overdelivers in 2018, and it’s an incredible value, one of the best in the appellation! One to buy by the case. 20,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in April 2020
Guimaro Finca Meixeman Mencia Ribeira Sacra 2018
Shelf Price $51.99
Sale Price $46.97
95 pts Wine Advocate
The 2018 Finca Meixeman comes from one of their oldest vineyards and was produced with the varietal blend in the vineyard—80% Mencía and 20% Brancellao, Merenzao, Garnacha, Mouratón, Negreda and Sousón. Most of the reds from 2018 are 13% alcohol, which is lower than in the past and achieved through picking earlier. This is serious and a little closed, more in the direction of the Capeliños than the Pombeiras. But the palate is impressive, very complete, harmonious, pungent and vibrant. 2018 was a return to the style after a catastrophic 2016 vintage with hail and the 2017 vintage when the vines were recovering. This is from the lower part of A Ponte, with granite and slate soils, and it's a little more powerful. It's really impressive, one of the finest. There are around 7,000 bottles of this. Drink 2021-2028