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Adegas Celme – Artisan Winery in the Heart of Ribeiro

Adegas Celme – Artisan Winery in the Heart of Ribeiro

Taking a career switch into the wine industry is an appealing but often daunting prospect.

Many of us dream about the shift but often never take the plunge.  

That, however, is exactly what Jorge and Dori had the courage to do in setting up Adegas Celme.  

Based in the Ribeiro DO in the south of Galicia they are both engineers who discovered a passion for wines after a wine tasting in 2009.  It was later in 2016 that the pair decided to quit their jobs and follow their passion to start producing their own wines

If any of you follow me on Instagram you’re probably already board of my constant references to DO Ribeiro as a wine region to watch.  If so, you may want to switch off now!

Ribeiro is the oldest designation in Galicia and one steeped in rich history and tradition.  It has around 2,500 hectares under vine and is split into three valleys by the three main rivers; Mino, Avia and Arnoia. These flowing rivers, combined with excellent sun exposure and high ventilation make Ribeiro a region perfectly suited for grape-growing.  The dominant air currents through the valleys bring a high diurnal range which slows the ripeness of the grapes.  This results in increased flavour concentration, increased aromatics and a natural freshness to the wines.

Stunning views over Ribeiro

After the outbreak of phylloxera in Europe the vines had to be grafted onto American rootstock.  This led to the introduction of more resistant foreign varieties in Ribeiro, often at the expense of native ones.  

A lot of time, effort and expense has been made in recent years on restructuring and converting the vineyards back to indigenous grapes where they find their best expression

Respecting the tradition of the region, its indigenous grapes and winemaking methods is now at the forefront of Ribeiro’s ideology

“Tradition is not history.  Tradition is eternity” Castelao (Galician Politician, Writer, Poet)

This notion of respect of tradition is also at the forefront of everything that is done at Adegas Celme.

They work side by side with winemaker Pablo Estevez and control every single detail of the process from vine to bottle.  Following the framework of DO Ribeiro, they only work with local varieties through a handmade and artisanal approach. The use of pesticides and herbicides are avoided to show complete respect for the environment across their two vineyards;

  • Pena Bicada – a 1.5 hectare vineyard of decomposed granite soil, planted with 15 year old vines of native grapes Treixadura, Godello, Albarino and Loureira
  • O Souto – a 0.5 hectare vineyard of decomposed granite soil, planted with 15 year old vines of native grapes Souson and Brancellao

Adegas Celma

In the vineyard all fruit is handpicked and de-stemmed prior to fermentation.  All grapes are manually selected to ensure only the best fruit makes its way into the final wines.  This results in small production but greater quality wines which showcases the quality of the land and the delicacy of the work in the winery.

There is so much thought and attention to detail into every step of the process; it’s staggering to think this is only their first vintage!

The wines are currently available in two formats, a red blend and a white blend.

I was lucky enough to meet Jorge and Dori at the London Wine Fair where I was able to talk in detail about their story and taste their two wines.

Celme de Pena Bicada

A white wine made up of a blend of Treixadura (50%), Godello (30%), Albarino (10%) and Loureira (10%).  Each variety is hand harvested and fermented separately so individual characteristics are retained to contribute to the final blend.  A wonderfully complex wine that is fresh and acidic.  The Treixadura and Godello produce fresh fruit flavours and a complex structure whilst the small proportion of Albarino and Loureira brings a subtle floral and aromatic touch.  

Production: 6,250 bottles

Celme do Souto

A red wine made up of Souson (80%) and Brancellao (20%).  All fruit is handpicked, de-stemmed and fermented in stainless steel.  It is transferred to premium French oak barrels, lightly and medium toasted, where it is left to mature for 3 months.  It’s an extremely elegant wine with a silky texture and well integrated tannins.  The high blend of souson brings ripe red and black fruits and the element of brancellao contributes subtle aromatics and a slight savoury hint.  Combined with the sweet spice from the French oak this wine is rustic but elegant with a long finish.

Production: 2,550 bottles

Their story is probably one that resonates with many of us and is one that should be celebrated.

The fact that their passion and love for what they do is reflected in the quality of the final wines is proof that when the heart and mind work as one, anything is possible.

Dori and Jorge