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There are few viticultural regions of the world as dramatic, wild and diverse as Ribeira Sacra. Just seeing the steep, […]

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There are few viticultural regions of the world as dramatic, wild and diverse as Ribeira Sacra. Just seeing the steep, nearly vertical slopes and the centuries-old terrace walls rise above you (or dizzyingly below you!) you cannot help but feel that there are great wines in the very DNA of this landscape. Now entering its second generation of talent, Ribeira Sacra is currently one of the most talked about places in the wine world, not only for its scenery but affordable, refreshing and complex wines made from indigenous varieties like Mencia (a cooler expression than Bierzo), Mouranton, Garnacha Tintorera (widely planted after phylloxera), Bastardo (a.k.a. Trousseau), Grao Negro, Sousón, Godello, Doña Blanca, Palomino… ok, not household names now, but they should be.

Jesús Olivares & Curro Bareño both grew up just outside the DO of Ribeira Sacra and after studying enology, they worked in the Sierra de Gredos with Dani Landi and Fernando Garcia. There they learned that if something isn’t easy, well-known or simple, it’s probably worth pursuing. Inspired by this sense of rediscovery, they returned to Galicia and founded Fedellos do Couto along with Luis Taboada the owner of Pazo do Couto. But the lure of home is always strong and having proved their talents and instincts within the DO of Ribeira Sacra, why not push the boundaries and explore even more remote regions just outside the zone?

Tracing their roots back home, south along the Bibei – the river that forms the eastern boundary of Ribeira Sacra and the western limit of Valdeorras, Jesús and Curro began to explore the land of their birth. There they discovered scattered vineyards surviving in places unsuitable for other crops. For many enologists, these vineyards might be seen as a nightmare – a diverse array of varieties mixed together, side by side, white and red. Conventional thinking would find these sites suitable for making peasant wine but certainly not fine wine. Luckily for us, Jesús and Curro have never done anything easy or expected.

Thus Macizo Ourensan was born. Despite bearing the lowly, generic designation of Vino de España, these wines cannot be viewed as anything other than a minutely rendered snapshots of terruño. They now have access to 6 hectares of vines scattered among the villages that form the watershed of the Bibei – Viana do Bolo,  Fornelos de Filloás, Santa Marina de Froixais, Grixoa, Buxán and Punxeiro. Their vineyard parcels share several common features – high elevation, indigenous varieties, and sandy granitic soils. All are farmed sustainably, as they have been for generations, and are worked by hand. From these vines Jesús and Curro currently make three wines – Lacazán, a  wine that is an effort to discover the potential of Sousón, Peixe da Estrada which is their village wine made from  warmer parcels and Peixes da Rocha which comes from their highest elevation and coolest parcels. Winemaking is minimalist with whole clusters, indigenous yeasts and neutral fermentation vessels being the basic elements. Macerations are long and gentle and aging in done in neutral French oak demi-muids or foudres.

Galicia, Spain
  • Location
    Galicia, Spain
  • Primary Appellation
    Vino de España
  • Proprietor
    Jesús Olivares & Curro Bareño
  • Winemaker
    Jesús Olivares & Curro Bareño
  • Size / Elevation
    6 hectares / 600-850 meters
  • Age of Vines
    20-80 years
  • Farming
    Practicing organic
  • Varieties
    Mencía, Mouranton, Grao Negro, Garnacha Tintorera, Bastardo, Sousón, Godello, Doña Blanca, Colgadeira, Palomino
  • Cellar
    Hand harvested, whole cluster, natural yeast fermentation in vat, two month gentle maceration, aging in 3000L French oak foudres or 500L neutral French oak demi-muids, no racking or bâtonnage, bottled unfined and unfiltered
  • Portfolio
    Eric Solomon Selections