Castro Candaz is a new Ribeira Sacra project, established as a joint-venture between Bierzo legend Raúl Pérez and top Rias Baixas producer Rodrigo Méndez. In fact, they have a long history of working together, with impressive results. For in 2005, they established the now leading Rias Baixas estate Forjas del Salnés and it was there that Raul helped Méndez to refine his style and produce a range of elegant, high toned reds to compliment Mendez’s natural affinity with Albarino. In return, he helped Pérez to develop his famous “Sketch” label, now one of the most sought after whites in Spain. Happily, they have joined forces once more, this time in Ribeira Sacra, truly one of the most awe-inspiring regions in Europe. Pérez already has a foothold there in the warm, Amandi subzone via Guimaro, with whom he produces La Penitencia and El Pecado, so when it came to developing Castro Candaz, Pérez and Mendez were seeking a new expression of Ribeira Sacra. Together they scouted out the cooler, lesser-known La Chantada appellation, where the Sil River widens, and the soils have a higher proportion of granite over schist. These are beautifully detailed wines with an unerring freshness and precision reminiscent of top level Cote Rotie, offered at a snip of the price. Under the radar for now, this small project is nevertheless destined for greatness.