The grapes to produce the “Lalama” Red Ribeira Sacra Dominio do Bibei were hand picked in 10kg cases. The first selection took place at the vineyard, then the grapes were stored at cold temperatures for 24 hours, followed by further sorting in the winery, grape by grape. The grapes were then destemmed and vatted by a gravity-led system. Cold pre-fermentation maceration took place for 2 days, followed by wild years fermentation in French wooden tanks (25-45 hL). Punch downs were carried out daily, and long post-fermentation maceration took place. Manual run off and spontaneous malolactic fermentation then took place in French barrels. The wine was then aged for 18 months in French barrels (300-500 litres) and wooden tanks, followed by at least 6 months ageing in bottle.
Vines are grown at varying altitudes from 300 to 700 metres, scattered across a large, north-facing hillside with schist and granite soils, flecked with slate, quartz and iron. The vine age varies between 21 and 100 years old and on average produces between 1 and 1.5kg of grapes. 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.
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. In the late 1990s, Javier Dominguez 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 with 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.