Awarded a high 17 points (of 20) on Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages (www.JancisRobinson.com) - reviewer Jancis herself - in March 2021 (see blue link below) and featured as part of her article (also featured in the Financial Times) Wines To Remind Us Of Spring (free to all, read the artlcle here)
Dominio do Bibei, Lalume White Ribeiro 2017 - jancisrobinson.com March 2021 review
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.
Vines are grown at varying altitudes from 200 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 10 and 30 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 winter was extremely warm with temperatures in February reaching 23ºC. This advanced budbreak and several heatwaves in spring and early summer meant the vines continued to progress ahead of the normal schedule. Fortunately, low humidity levels meant disease pressure was minimal and harvest began on August 25th.
The grapes were hand-picked and sorted in the vineyard, with the vineyard parcels vinified separately based on zone, soil type and elevation. The fruit was cold settled at 2ºC for 24 hours prior to being pressed and racked. Fermentation using indigenous yeasts took place in a mix of 600 litre new and old barrels, 1200 and 2400 litre casks, ovoid concrete tanks and 2000 litre stainless-steel tanks. The wine was then aged on fine lees in 12,000 litre stainless-steel tanks.
The 'Lalume' has aromas of white stone fruit, floral notes and a touch of aromatic herbs. On the palate, it is precisely textured with good acidity and a long finish.