Dominio do Bibei is located in the Quiroga-Bibei sub zone of the Ribeira Sacra D.O. Like all Ribeira Sacra sub zones, this area is one of spectacular mountain ranges and flowing rivers, but it is drier and harsher than the others. The Quiroga-Bibei sub-zone is dryer and warmer than the other sub-zones in Ribeira Sacra with a slightly larger clay content to the predominately slate soils.
Bibei is a 125 hectare estate with approximately 45 hectares planted today (old terraces are being restructured and new plantings are in progress). Javier Dominguez is leading the effort to recapture a once great vineyard. The idea is to return to the past to rediscover what was once here. His respect for the history of the land is reflected in the winery and its simple design. There are no stainless steel tanks, only wood or cement and they come in all the different sizes.
The vineyards are still tremendously steep and tremendously difficult to navigate. Planted on these terraces are old vines of Mencía, Garnacha, Brancellao and Mouraton. New plots are being planted using cuttings from these old vines to maintain diversity in the vineyard. In addition to the red varietals, there are plantings of white grape varieties such as Doña Blanca, Godello and Albariño (the cuttings of this last grape being from Do Ferreiro).
Lalama is a combination of parcels and is comprised of 85% Mencia with 7% Garnacha, 6% Brancellao (aka Albarello that grows in Galicia and Portugal) and 2% Mouraton (too obscure to even make the Oxford Companion to Wine). Vine age is a range of 15 to 100 years old. Harvest was done by hand and the grapes were harvested separately by variety.
Dark ruby in color. Aromatics of cherry with strawberry-rhubarb with a hint of cedar box and licorice. On the palate, black cherry, plum and raspberry, with dried flowers with some pencil shavings, earth and vegetal notes. Plush and smooth, medium-bodied but packed with pure fruit. 12.5% alcohol. Imported by De Maison Selections. This was a great pairing with grilled leg of lamb, and I poured it along with an ’07 Breton Nuits d’Ivresse. I love Catherine & Pierre Breton’s wines, but I thought the Lalama was the winner of the evening. Recommended.