The Fedellos do Couto group of winemakers have been regenerating old vine parcels across the Ribeira Sacra, creating beautiful wines from the likes of Bastarda (Trousseau) and Mencía. With a natural winemaking approach - unfined, unfiltered, with just a touch of sulphur - these are some of Spain's most exciting wines.
"It has always been more important to gain perspective and knowledge from the expression of the vineyards, and from there understand what they need; to be able to read the vines is to be able to defend them."
People: Jesús Olivares, Curro Bareño and Luis Tabaoda
Place: Ribeira Sacra, Spain
Varieties: Mencía, Negreda, Garnacha, Garnacha Tintorera, Merenzao, Carignan, Doña Blanca, Godello, Albariño, Treixadura, Lado, Torrontés, Colgadeira
Farming: Organic with elements of biodynamics
Wines: Click here
Did You Know? The Fedellos’ vineyards tend to miss the full sun that strikes the terraces on the Golden Mile, on the northern bank of the Sil. With less sun comes lighter, higher acidity and lower alcohol.
Farming organically and with some biodynamic principles, the project is based in the wild and very remote south-eastern corner of the Ribeira Sacra, between Ribeiras do Sil and Bibei. In Madrid, Curro explains that it’s much easier to work organically because it’s so dry; the soils, the landscape and the climate make farming vineyards much simpler. More importantly, the land in Madrid can be worked by tractor, but in Ribeira Sacra, the steep terraced vineyards mean that work can only be done by hand (with some very steady footing required!)
Whilst the region is known for its glorious landscapes and breathtaking sloped terraces, it is of little interest to big wineries due to the impossibility of using machinery.
“In Spain, at the moment, you have big bodegas striking back and buying land in many places… but it’s not in Ribeira Sacra due to the cost of managing the vineyards. For one of these bodegas to be interested, you have to be able to cultivate the land with a tractor.”
This is a breath of fresh air (and a weight off their backs), allowing the Fedellos to continue their project without having to watch their backs.