Dominio do Bibei Special Offer
Some of you may remember this offer from last year with Michael reminiscing on his family’s trip to the region to walk the famous Comino pilgrims trail and their discovery of the wine from this incredible landscape.
This year we have two additional cuvees from Domino Bibei, a fantastic white made from the grape Treixadura, and the flagship wine of Domino made predominantly from the ancient variety Brancellao.
Dominio do Bibei is the brainchild of Javier Domínguez and the winery and vineyards are located in the north-west of Spain in the Ribera Sacra region: one of the most exciting wine areas in Spain and in my view, the world. A new generation of conscientious vignerons have renovated the ancient vineyards hewn into steep, high altitude terraced plots and are producing spectacular wines from Mencia.
Driving through Ribera Sacra is incredible, the landscape strikes you with its “terrible beauty” – scrub covered mountains rise from the Sil valley, slate slides off the side of vineyards as you watch and the plots are farmed by hand. It’s a harsh, dry, austere and mesmerizing country that leaves you wondering – how could wine ever be made commercially here?
In the cellar Dominio d Bibei reflects something of the frugality of the real pilgrims who have walked by for centuries. Concrete and large wooden vats are used for fermentation and some smaller oak for maturation. There’s not much else here as gravity fills the place of pumps, the idea being to return to a simple way of production in an attempt to recapture the wines of the past. The vineyards are panted to a range of indigenous varieties, Mencia being the most prominent followed by Garnacha, Brancellao and Mouratón in the reds and Godello and Dona Blanco and Treixadura in the white. The vineyards are spread across different soil types including slate, granite and clay at altitudes ranging up to and above 650 metres and biodynamics are practiced wherever possible. There are plans for expansion of the current 50 hectares to 125, a painstakingly time-consuming venture in this environment.
Sure, there’s a lot of wine – but wines that have a transformative effect can be difficult to spot in the crowd, until you taste them, and then their impact is immediate.
I believe Mencia can and will compete with the great wines of the world – think Burgundy and Barolo – Spain’s answer to some of the great terroir driven regions of Europe. Get on board now I say while the wines are a fraction of the cost.
2015 was a vintage of great quality yet tiny quantity due to a devastating hail storm early in the season. Up to 70% of the fruit was lost but what remained has produced wines of purity and precision. We have been lucky to get similar quantity to last year but we will not be able to get a top up as we did last year.