This haunting dry white from Galicia in north-west Spain is great value even if not cheap. Ribeiro is inland from the much better known Rias Baixas on the Atlantic coast (see this map from the World Atlas of Wine). Most vineyards overlook one of Ribeiro's three rivers. Mick Rock's picture shows the river Miño (known as Minho across the border in Portugal) but Coto de Gomariz's 27 hectares of vineyards overlook the river Avia.
The soils here are dominated by schist, granite and sand, which, together with unusually low yields, are a major factor in the concentration and tension in this wine. But there is also the strong personality of the local grape varieties. Coto de Gomariz 2008 Ribeiro is made up of about 80% Treixadura with a blend of the other Galician varieties Godello, Loureira and Albariño. This wine smells most excitingly of fresh green leaves and then on the palate delivers tense, smoky fruit - a little bit like Clos Ste-Hune in structure. This is a white wine that is really persistent and yet is much more refreshing than the average full-bodied dry white.
The same team, winemakers Ricardo Carreiro and Xosé Lois Sebio, who are currently overseeing a conversion to biodynamic viticulture (which may be challenging in this Atlantic-washed region), also make an all-Albariño, single-vineyard Gomariz X 2008. At the same price, this Albariño is also very well made but seems just a little more muted than the mainly Treixadura bottling. According to wine-searcher.com, this wine is available in Spain for just €8.05 and in Germany for €12.90 a bottle.
We British wine drinkers should be grateful for the sleuthing skills of importer Ben Henshaw of Indigo Wine, who imports these wines into the UK. As for retailers, The Sampler of London N1 sells the Treixadura for £14.31, although this comes down to £12.88 if it's bought as part of a mixed half-dozen bottles. The Vineking in Surrey sells it at £14.99, or £13 as part of a case of six assorted bottles.
I gave the Treixadura 2008 17 points out of 20 and would suggest drinking it over the next three years. I gave the Albariño 16 and felt it needs drinking over the next two years.
But at the same tasting I was most impressed by a wine that probably needs at least another year or three and, unlike the two wines above, is, or will be, available in the US. Tomàs Cusiné, Finca Racons Macabeu 2009 Costers del Segre is the first vintage of a wine made from Macabeu (a variety that I have championed in the past) and made by Tomàs Cusiné (a producer I have championed in the past). The vines are 55 and 90 years old and the wine is still pretty tight. Made in Mediterranean-influenced Calatuña, it is richer and smoother than the Galician wines above but it has a lovely zesty, citrus perfume and I'm sure will be well worth its score of 17 out of 20 during the period 2011-14. It's great to see my faith in this vine variety vindicated.
Finca Racons 2009 is already available in Spain at €16.95, in Germany at €17.85 and in the UK (from Indigo in a couple of weeks) at £16.50 and surely Tomàs Cusiné's US importer Eric Solomon of European Cellars will ensure that it finds its way across the Atlantic.