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 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.
Hailing from Allariz in the province of Ourense, Laura remembers always loving wine as a kid. So much so that she decided, at the tender age of 16, to become a winemaker and enroll in the local enology school. Upon graduation, she worked at the nearby Adega Cachín, and then overseas with Eben Sadie in South Africa and Achaval Ferrer in Argentina. After her various apprenticeships, Laura took over the reins at Dominio do Bibei, a pioneering producer of fine wine in the Quiroga-Bibei subzone of Ribeira Sacra. Laura worked there for 10 years developing a style of winemaking that was fine-tuned to the hillsides of the region, specifically to the terruño around the village of Manzaneda. In 2014 Laura struck out on her own and formed Daterra Viticultores. This is how she describes her project: “Daterra Viticultores owes its name to the many women and men who have spent the course of their lives on the Manzaneda mountainsides in the Bibei valley cultivating these vines, and who entrust Laura Lorenzo to carry on their culture.”
The landscape that Laura works is rugged and sparse, with steep terraced and un-terraced vineyards overlooking the Bibei, Jares, and Navea rivers. Here the climate of the Atlantic intertwines with warm continental influences. In the lowest elevation vineyards, the vegetation and climate seem almost Mediterranean, with olive trees and herbs such as lavender and thyme growing wild. Granite is the dominant soil type, complimented by slate, clay, gneiss, and sand. The diversity and beauty is breathtaking.
Laura describes her farming as “agro-ecology with minimal impact.” She works with techniques that nurture life in the soils that have been decimated by years of industrial agriculture, to create a healthy and thriving ecosystem for her old bush vines. All work is carried out manually, with some biodynamic preparations utilized.
In the winery, Laura’s winemaking is decidedly low-tech and non-interventionist. She ferments with native yeasts and works with little sulfur. The wine is moved by gravity whenever possible, and the wines are not fined or filtered. Laura and Daterra’s over-arching philosophy: “We seek for the future through agriculture, which means years of work in the vineyard…our grapes give good information, and let us know where the wine wants to go."
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