The Mercenario Tinto is composed of 40% Caíño Longo, 20% Brancellao, 20% Espadeiro, 15% Sousón, and 5% Caíno da Terra, all from many parcels throughout Ribeira in the Arnoia, Avia and Miño Valleys on many different soil types, but predominantly on granite. In 2019, the wine was made with 100% stem inclusion during its thirty-five days of fermentation and was very gently macerated with very light and infrequent extractions. After pressing, the wine went into two-thirds 500-liter and 600-liter old barrels, and one-third amphora where it was aged for ten months.
"Iago Garrido may be destined to become one of Spain’s most influential winegrowers. I first encountered him and some of his wines with our friends from Cume do Avia in 2018, over lunch at O Mosteiro, by the Monasterio de San Clodio, in Galicia’s Ribeiro wine region; Iago and I were being set up, with all eyes on me. As we ate, a few white wines and a single red carried an unexpected throughline of aromas and textures unusual for the region, something Iago calls his “freaky.” I’ve come to think of it as his genius, and so has anyone who’s been fortunate enough to try the wines he bottles under Fazenda Augalevada.
Under the Veil
In 2014, Iago buried his first amphora filled with Treixadura out in the middle of his vineyard, and after a while he became convinced that it was a mistake. But sometimes mistakes can open your mind to new possibilities you may have never otherwise imagined and can even change the course of your life. What Iago thought was an errant shot actually hit a vein of gold.
Ollos de Roque (Eyes of Roque, his firstborn son), had two different versions in 2014 with the second (the supposed mistake) labeled as Número Dous (Number Two, in Galician). He sold Número Dous only to his friends and kept some bottles for himself. The wine that went to market was raised in oak barrels in his cellar and was headed in the direction he thought he was going. But his friends started to tell him how much they liked Número Dous, and Iago found the same unexpected pleasure in the wine as they did. Ultimately, he realized that it was the better of the two approaches.
Flor yeast is fascinating. Those in the wine industry know about this yeast veil that can form on the surface of a wine during its cellar aging, most famously in France’s Jura and Spain’s Jerez. My first contact with some iteration of flor was back in 2000, during my first harvest season at a winery in Santa Maria. During the stirring and topping of some Chardonnay barrels toward the end of their fermentation, I pulled the stainless steel bâtonnage wand and saw that it was covered in a glycerol, yeasty, net-like film. I thought this was a flaw, so I brought it to the attention of the winemaker, who smiled and said it was probably flor yeast and that it might actually contribute to the wine’s complexity.
Wines made under flor in Galicia rarely, if ever, go to market. But Iago said that some local winegrowers told him that in the past, the spring wines would often bloom with flor yeast. Back then, wines were most often drunk from the vat instead of from bottles. As the level of the vat went down and the temperature increased in the spring and summer, the flor protected the wine, and if it didn’t bloom in the vat, the wine wouldn’t last long.
Número Dous provided Iago with a clear path and what was once considered by him as “nothing more than an accident to avoid” became the central focus of his entire range, all of which have varying levels of flor influence."
Ted Vance, The Source Imports