2018 Laura Lorenzo 'Tabernario', Ribeira Sacra, Spain
Laura Lorenzo was the winemaker and viticulturist at an established Ribeira Sacra estate for close to a decade. In 2014, she struck out on her own with her project Daterra Viticultores, and now works about 4.5 hectares organically in the Val do Bibei-Quiroga subzone of Ribeira Sacra, and with this wine she extends her reach into Valdeorras to the southeast with the 2015 vintage. Through her meticulous work in the vineyard, Laura’s goal is to cultivate life in her soils that were once damaged by industrial viticulture, and to bring harmony to her vineyards and grapes. In the winery, Laura lets the grapes speak for themselves - fermenting with wild yeasts, utilizing older wooden casks for fermentation and elevage, and adding only small amounts of SO2 during the winemaking process, with no clarification, filtration, or adjustments to the wines.
Ribeira Sacra means “Sacred Banks” in Gallego, the local Galician dialect that splits the difference between Spanish and Portuguese. The Romans came to this green, northwest corner of Iberia some 2,000 years ago and were the first to terrace the slopes and plant vines in Ribeira Sacra. The soils are quite varied amongst the 5 subzones, with cool, granitic soil predominating, which helps to produce wines with lower alcohols that are highly aromatic and elegant in style.
Due to extremely adverse weather in 2018, Laura and Alvaro lost almost all of their fruit that goes into the Gavela, Erea and Azos wines. Thus was born Tabernario, half of which comes from the surviving Val do Bibei Mencía & Palomino, plus Alicante Bouschet & Mencía from the Amandi (which typically go into Portela do Vento). The grapes were harvested by hand in early September and 50% destemmed, skin-macerated for 10 days and spontaneously fermented in 500L & 1000L chestnut barrels. The wine was then raised for 11 months and bottled without fining or filtration, and only minimal additions of SO2.