Winery: Dominio do Bibei
Region: Ribeira Sacra
Coupaje: Godello, Albarino, Dona Blanca (WHITE)
The nose is complex with aromas of wild herbs and a distinct minerality. The palate is deep and precise, with excellent acidity. It will continue to develop during the next six to seven years.
Vines are grown at varying altitudes from 400 to 750 metres on sandy and clay soils, flecked with shale. The vine age varies between 13 and 100 years old. The region’s Atlantic climate, with an average annual rainfall of 700mm, mostly concentrated in the winter and spring months, helps retain freshness and acidity in the fruit. The summer and autumn are drier, with a large diurnal range.
The 2018 vintage started with a cold winter with snow coming earlier than normal at the beginning of December. Spring was also cool and the vines' growth cycle was delayed with budding taking place in the third week of April. Summer brought high temperatures but also regular summer storms, causing persistent mildew in the vineyards requiring careful management to reduce the disease pressure. The hot summer brought the ripening closer to a normal schedule and the fruit was harvested from the end of September.
The grapes were hand-picked and sorted in the vineyard, with each vineyard parcel vinified separately. The fruit was cold settled for two days prior to being pressed and racked. Fermentation using indigenous yeasts took place in a mix of six hectolitre barrels, 12 and 24 hectolitre casks and seven hectolitre ovoid concrete tanks.
Since his first vintage in 2001, Javier Dominguez’s Dominio do Bibei has been widely acknowledged as the driving force behind the emergence of quality wines in Spain’s historic Ribeira Sacra. His family bought land in the Bibei valley, Ribeira’s most easterly sub-region, and today they own a 140 hectare estate, of which 45 hectares are planted to vines. Since then, he has worked tirelessly to revive the region and its indigenous vines, undertaking what is known locally as ‘heroic viticulture’. There are far easier places to make wine than in Ribeira Sacra. But Javier Dominguez, along with his consultant winemakers, Priorat’s Sara Pérez and René Barbier, are united in a common belief in this spectacular landscape, its ancient character and, most of all, its capacity to produce Spain’s most distinctive wines.