What's New in April
The Peak of Ribeira Sacra: Lalama 2006
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 following rivers, but it is drier and harsher than the others. Javier Dominguez is the brainchild of this crazy adventure to recapture a once grand vineyard.
Old terraces are being restructured and new plantings are afoot. Dominio do Bibei is a 125 hectare estate with approximately 45 hectares planted today.
Javier’s vision of austerity and respect for the history of this land is reflected in the winery and its simple design. Gravity rules. There are no stainless steel tanks; wood or cement are the vehicles of choice and they come in all the different sizes. The idea is to return to the past to rediscover what was once here. The wine maker Laura Lorenzo has similar ideas. She follows many of the ideas of biodynamic viticulture to obtain the purest expression of this terruño.
Planted on these terraces are old vines of Mencía, Garnacha, Brancellao and Mouraton. New plots are being planted using cuttings from these old vines so as to maintain clonal 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). The sites vary greatly because of the orientation of the plots and the soil types. Because this is a transition zone which touches Valdeorras, you have soils of slate, granite and clay interspersed among the hillsides.
Over the course of the year we will see the gradual release of the four wines produced by Dominio do Bibei. The first of these releases is arriving this month: Lalama 2006, a predominately Mencía-based wine that is the more fruit forward expression of their parcels. The Lalama is fermented in a combination of 15% open barrels and 85% foudre. It is then aged on the lees for 21 months in 35% foudre and 85% 1-3 year old French oak barrels. The wine is at last aged in bottle for 18 months in before release.
2010 Concoction Contest: Cider
Our 2010 Concoction Contest is underway. We want your original Cider Concoction recipes and cocktails, please email them to us. The winner will receive a hand painted porron from this year's guest artist: Beatrice Agullo.
Clams with Cider-Braised Slab Bacon (serves 4-6)
by Kevin H. of The Spanish Table in Berkeley, CA
1 750ml bottle of Isastegi Sagardo Naturala
1 lb skin-on slab bacon (in one piece)
1.5 lbs fresh manila clams in the shell
2 cloves of garlic
1 small dried chile
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Rinse the clams under running water to remove any dirt. Score the skin side of the slab bacon in 1/2 inch cross cuts, cutting just through the skin. Place the slab bacon skin side up in a 10 inch lidded cazuela. Pour the entire bottle of Sidra over the bacon and add one small dried pepper and two garlic cloves whole but slightly crushed. Heat the covered cazuela on the stove over medium heat, Simmer for 1.5 hours, turning the bacon over every 20 minutes. When the bacon is fall apart tender remove it from the cazuela and slice thickly.
Add the washed clams to the simmering cazuela. Add the bacon back to the cazuela and stir through. Turn the heat up to medium high, cover the cazuela and cook until the clams open completely. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the clams and serve.
In the Press
From the Wine Enthusiast
Do you have trouble finding food to pair with txakoli? Me neither, but if you're looking for some authentic Basque dishes the April issue of Wine Enthusiast (page 58) has some pairing suggestions and recipes courtesy of Alex Raij and Eder Montero of Txikito and El Quinto Pino in NY.
Looking for a wine importer that you can trust to give you "an excellent shot at scoring a winner"? Well look no further. In The Advanced Wine Buying Guide from Details Magazine's 10th Anniversary Issue they join Slate and Food & Wine in naming De Maison Selections as one of their "Importers to Trust". Here's what they had to say:
Seals of Approval: Importers to Trust
An unfamiliar wine shop can be a terrifying place - unless you know your way around the back of a bottle. That's where you'll find the name of the importer. If you heed these suggestions, you have an excellent shot at scoring a winner.
De Maison Selections
If you've tried Txakoli - that spritzy Basque white (and rosé) cropping up everywhere of late - chances are this Spanish-focused company brought it to your glass.
Look For: Gurrutxaga Txakoli Rosado
Know the Terrain: The Next Breakout Wine Regions
Now that you know all about the producers of La Rioja, Piedmont, and Alsace, it's time to move on to new vine-friendly coordinates around the globe.
Tucked quietly into the northwest corner of Spain, this region produces an outsize supply of stellar wine, from tart Ribeira Sacra reds to now-familiar Albariños.
A Good Introduction: D. Ventura Viña Caneiro
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