Energising and inspiring, the spirit-lifting white from Ribeira Sacra

Greetings from Devon, where the weather, the wine and the orders you send in are keeping us going. Thank you all. And if you're in the market for a wine to energise and inspire, I have just the thing this week.

If you've been around here for a while and can remember the increasingly foreign time that was last year, you might recall an email about the vertiginous slopes of Ribeira Sacra. These rocky hillsides reaching up into the Atlantic fog are a nightmare to work, but the wines they produce are special. None more so than those of Dominio do Bibei, whose red wine, Lalama, was one of my highlights of 2019.

But until last week I had never tasted the white version, Lapola. It is a wine made to express the whole of this remarkable place. It is a blend of Godello, Doña Blanca and Albariño planted between 300 and 800m altitude. The vines are a whole mix of ages ranging from 6 to 100 years old, and fermentation is done separately by variety, soils, elevation and aspect, in large French and Austrian oak barrels. The wine is then aged further in barrel and concrete eggs, before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.

If that sounds complex, it is - and that really comes across in the wine, which is amazingly multi-layered. If anything, it is even more impressive than the red, but it has the same characteristic energy running through it - it is a wine full of life; dry, zesty and incredibly appetising.

Light honeysuckle nose. Great tension and layers. Really well put together. Long. Good value.

17 points

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, 25/02/2020

The current vintage is 2017. It's arriving here next week, and it's very highly recommended.