At the beginning of the century, the Dominio de Tares became a pioneer of the new wines coming out of the El Bierzo region. A pioneer in the production of red wines in the region, its wine Dominio de Tares Cepas Viejas perhaps best captures the magic of the Mencía grape variety, and since its first harvest has helped place the D.O Bierzo on the map of emerging wine regions.
The winery forms part of the Grupo Dominio de Tares, which is currently formed of Dominio de Tares in El Bierzo, Dominio Dos Tares in León, and Pazos de Lusco in Rías Baixes. The group was founded by a handful of entrepreneurs from el Bierzo, Madrid and Galicia, who were passionate about wine and the grape varieties native to the north of Spain, which although relatively unknown had great potential. The group believed that great wines are formed from the terroir from where they come, and have contributed massively to the knowledge of the terroir and the region.
The winery was founded in 1999, 10 years after the DO El Bierzo was officially recognised. The first vintage from the winery was released onto the market in 2000 and was a huge success. It was then that the winery became a pioneer in the region, showing off the potential of its wines and of what the Mencía grape could offer.
Since its foundation, one of the main objectives of Dominio de Tares and its founders has been to show the world the quality of its wines from its vineyards, with the team always believing in the potential of the land in Bierzo. Since the beginning, once the winery opted for the region and after an exhaustive search, the winery has acquired some of the best pagos (some owned, some leased) that were home to the Mencía and Godello varieties. The winery has since acquired a total of 30 hectares of vineyards, which have been key to the success and character of their wines. Most of the vines are between 40 and 90 years old, concentrated in the Bierzo Bajo, around Valtuille, Villadecanes and Paradones, as well as on the slopes of San Lorenzo, Otero and Salas de los Barrios in the Bierzo Media, and in the hills of San Román de Bembibre in the Bierzo Alto. In 2001, the seven pagos that best expressed the Mencía variety, with old vines with deep roots that allowed the strains to feed on the ground, seeking the complicity between the plant and the terroir. Each of these payments is cultivated according to their specific needs.
Both at the vineyard and the winery, Dominio de Tores applies natural methods with the aim of producing wines with the greatest personality. To do this the winery combines the traditional knowledge of the local winegrowers, with the latest current concepts of soil and plant analysis. To achieve optimum production and ageing, the load on each strain is reduced with green pruning and thinning of bunches. Traditional plowing replaces herbicides, used only when essential in order to be respectful to the ecosystem.
The harvest is also carried out in phases, depending on the degree of maturation of the grapes. The harvest is carried out in small 15kg boxes, avoiding any breakage of the fruit. At the winery, the grapes pass through a selection table where only the best grapes are used for vinification.
The winery is currently home to 900 barrels, 1/3 of which are renewed every year. The barrels are made from French, American and Central European fine grain oak, differently toasted and chosen only from the most prestigious coopers. Depending on its origin, the wines remain in the barrel for between three months and two years and are bottled without any filtering.
Bodega Dominio de Tares boasts a young and enthusiastic team, with their passion for the region and land reflected in the wines. Rafael Somonte is the current technical director of Bodegas Dominio Tares Group, who has a real passion for viticulture and oenology, with a sense of wisdom and youth.
Wines from the Dominio de Tares winery.
Although the winery also produces a white wine with the Godello variety, the majority of the wines by Dominio de Tares are based on the Mencía variety, a grape native to El Biezo which offers a great personality.
Dominio de Tares Godello. This wine is made exclusively with the Godello grape variety and is the only white wine produced by the winery. This special wine is made with Godello grapes that come from 15 year old vines, with the grapes manually harvested by hand. Fermentation is carried out using natural yeasts. This wine is aged for 6 months in (500litre) French oak barrels, with an extra 3 months in the bottle. Dominio de Tares Godello has a strong personality brought out by its brief ageing in French oak, with citrus aromas, white fruit, stoned fruits and hints of baked goods. In the mouth it is balanced and dense.
Baltos. The youngest red offered by the winery, Baltos is made exclusively with the Mencía variety from 40 year old vines. The harvest is carried out manually, while fermentation is undergone using natural yeasts. The wine is aged for 4 months in the barrel, with another 6 months in the bottle before being placed onto the market. The wine boasts a ruby colour, is fresh on the nose with notes of red and black fruit, with hints of liquorice, cloves and scrubland, with a warm, intense red fruit and mouth.
Dominio de Tares Cepas Viejas.This is perhaps the flagship wine of the bodega. The wine is made exclusively with the Mencía variety, taken from vines over 60 years old. The grapes are harvested by hand and fermentation is carried out using natural yeasts. The wine is aged for between 9-12 months on average in French and American oak barrels. The wine has an intense cherry red colour, with hints of candied black and red fruits, notes of back goods and roasted nuts, with a polished palate, well balanced and full-bodied.
Bembibre.The name of this wine pays homage to the origins of the winery, located in San Román de Bembibre. The wine comes from 80 year old vineyards, as well as pre-phylloxera vines over 110 years old. The grapes are harvested by hand, while fermentation is carried out using its own natural yeasts. The wine is aged for 16 months in French and American oak barrels, followed by 24 months in the bottle. This is probably one of the best expressions of the Mencía grape by the winery, with only 2,000 bottles made per vintage. The wine has an intense garnet colour, with hints of candied red and black fruits on the nose, as well as hints of nuts and dried fruit. On the mouth it is dense, warm and polished.
Dominio de Tares P3. This is a ‘vino de parcela’, i.e all of the grapes are taken from a single plot. The grapes come from the San Carlos vineyard, with ungrafted pre-phylloxera vines that are over 110 years old. The grapes are harvested by hand, while fermentation is carried out using its own natural yeasts. The wine is aged for 16 months in new French oak barrels, followed by 24 months in the bottle. The wine boasts an intense garnet colour, with aromas of candied black and red fruits, plum, and liquorice, toasted almonds, with a powerful palate, polished and warm.