Located in Sober, in the subarea of Amandi, Adegas Guímaro makes terroir-focused wines in Ribeira Sacra. Pedro Manuel Rodríguez, the young producer in charge of this small business, is part of a long-standing saga of vine growers who have tamed the extremely steep slopes in the area. The landscape is so rugged that the term used to describe the work here is heroic wine growing.
One of the driving forces of the creation of the DO Ribeira Sacra, the Rodríguez family took a step forward in 1991 with the renovation and enlargement of their cellar and joined the appellation in 1996. They decided to name themselves and their wines Guímaro, after the nickname of Pedro’s grandfather, which means rebel in Galician. When Pedro took over the business in 2001, the focus was still on producing young red wines, but everything changed after he met winemaker Raúl Pérez from Bierzo.
Similarly to other partnerships with various producers across Galicia, Raúl Pérez works as a consultant while making his own wines at his partner’s cellar. The arrival of one of Spain’s most respected winemakers brought new techniques to Guímaro: the shift towards natural yeasts, whole-bunch fermentation or the use of foudres or large, used barrels to age the wines.
Guímaro owns around eight hectares of vineyards but also buys grapes to local vine growers. Pedro thinks that viticulture is still a thorny issue in the area after many years of bumper yields. In fact, it took him around five to seven years to persuade his purveyors to change the way they took care of their vineyards.
The range starts with two entry-level wines sourced from a mixture of plots and soils in the sub-area of Amandi: a white Godello blended with other local white grapes (around €11 in Spain, 10,000 bottles) and a red blend of Mencía and 15% of indigenous red grapes (€9.5, 80,000 bottles). His other white, Guímaro Cepas Viejas (1,500 bottles, €13), is made from very old Godello fermented and aged in used barrels. Guímaro’s premium range includes some highly expressive, single-vineyard reds sourced from south- and southeast-facing plots. All of them are blends of Mencía with a wide array of indigenous red varieties like Caíño, Sousón, Brancellao, Merenzao (or Trousseau), Mouratón and Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet).
Finca Meixeman (5,000 bottles, around €19 in Spain) comes from one of the original family-owned vineyards. With distinctive schist soils, Finca Capeliños (€34, 1,000 bottles) comes from the same vineyard and, in fact, it is the same wine as Raúl Pérez’s sought-after El Pecado. The wine remains in vats for up to 60 days so malolactic fermentation usually takes place with the skins and stems, yet the wine shows very pure fruit and juiciness. Finca Pombeiras (€40, 600 bottles) comes from schist soils and it is the same wine as Raúl Pérez’s La Penitencia. Despite being made in tiny quantities, it offers an outstanding, vibrant expression of the region.