At Xtrawine, we obviously spend most of our time promoting the Italian wine industry. We want to help you discover some amazing wines that you may have never heard of before. Plus, we relish any opportunity to talk about the wonderful producers who make the industry what it is.
But of course, there are plenty of other countries that have thriving wine industries of their own. In the past, we’ve taken a look at several quality vintages that came out of France, especially in regards to Champagne.
However, we haven’t spent a lot of time talking about the Spanish wine industry in the pages of the Xtrawine blog.
The Spanish industry is among the best in the world and the country has a rich winemaking tradition that stretches back for centuries.
It’s about time we gave the country the credit that it’s due.
That starts today with our review of a stunning Spanish wine. Made by the Dominio Do Bibei winery, this wine is the perfect example of why you may want to look to Spain to get your fix.
We’ll take a closer look at the drink itself in just a moment. First, we’d like to examine the winery that’s responsible for it.
Nestled deep within the famous Ribeira Sacra D.O., Dominion Do Bibei is surrounded on all sides by some of the most scenic natural scenes that you can imagine.
A glance in one direction reveals stunning mountain ranges that stretch up for as far as the eye can see. A glance in another shows you fast-flowing rivers carrying the waters that you would think play a role in helping the land to develop.
Yet despite these rivers, the sub-zone of Quiroga-Bibei that the winery calls its home is actually a fairly dry area. This presents several challenges when it comes to winemaking, which is something that Javier Dominguez knew he would need to confront.
Javier is a true wine romantic. The land that he purchased many moons ago was once home to one of the grandest vineyards in the entire country. Unfortunately, the ravages of time had taken their toll on the land by the time it came into his possession.
He had a simple goal – revitalise the land and return his vineyard to its former glory.
While simple in concept, that goal has proven more challenging in execution. In fact, it is still a work in progress. Javier has restructured many of the old terraces that dot the landscape and is in the process of planting new vines on the land. But of course, he’s also willing to cultivate the vines that still continue to thrive on the estate.
As of this writing, 45 of the estate’s 125 hectares are planted. There’s still plenty more to go. However, the fruits of Javier’s labours are already evident in the number of stunning wines that the company has produced in recent years.
Part of Javier’s revitalisation involves respecting the history that is written into the land that he now possesses. While he is not averse to the modern trappings of today’s wine industry, he has an admirable determination to make his production techniques as traditional as possible.
He is a big believer in the idea that gravity rules. He’s also a stickler for using wood and cement as the vehicles for his wine, eschewing modern stainless steel vats in the process.
There is a method behind this idea of sticking to the old ways.
Javier hopes that his respect for tradition will help him to rediscover what made his estate so respected in years gone by. Furthermore, his efforts allow him to grow his grapes in a biodynamical manner, which is just another part of his plan to breathe new life into his land.
The industry isn’t blind to the work that Javier and his team put in. In fact, many would point to this producer as one of the driving forces behind the renewed push quality wine production that the Ribeira Sacra region has experienced. A tarnished regional reputation means little to men like Javier, who understand that it is not the land that is to blame for lacklustre wine.
It is the producer who did not take the time to tend to his land properly.
Javier is one of the few who’s willing to rise to the challenge of creating quality wines in what may not be the most ideal of circumstances. The rugged setting of his estate means that his vines can be found all altitudes, with the highest being 920 metres above sea level. This means that his team has to put extra effort into reaching the vineyard before they even worry about the grapes.
And that work ethic is the story of this revitalised estate. Javier will not rest until he’s planted the majority, if not all, of the estate. And while doing so, he plans to continue producing amazing wines for us fortunate consumers to enjoy.
It is one of those wines that we will examine now…
Dominio Do Bibei Ribeira Sacra Lalama 2014
The Dominio Do Bibei Ribeira Sacra Lalama 2014 is a true jewel in the crown of the Dominio Do Bibei estate.
A gorgeous biodynamic red, this wine impresses from the moment that you pour it. The bright red colouring suggests a vibrant and flavoursome wine, though it also tells you that this is a wine that can benefit from some ageing. In fact, it can stay in the bottle for up to 25 years before it starts to lose its quality.
If you do decide to drink, the bouquet’s powerful mix of red fruits, potpourri, and spicy scents will only entice you more. Strong without being overwhelming, the fragrances hint at the intelligence of the wine that is to come.
Upon the first sip, you’ll notice the definite mineral taste of a wine that’s cultivated as naturally as possible. Redcurrant and strawberry flavours will whirl their way around your palette, though it is the spicy aftertaste that is what will draw you back for another sip.
The wine is currently just €22 on the Xtrawine website. And with a rating of 93/100 from our team, it’s worth every penny and even more!