Producer Profile: Dominio de Tares

Referred to as the Burgundy of Spain, Bierzo is one of the old world’s most promising “new” wine regions. A wave of young producers have converged on the region, determined to make good on this promise. At the OWC, we are thrilled to carry the wines from one of Bierzo’s premier producers: Dominio de Tares.

Is this the first you’re hearing of Bierzo? You’re not alone. For political reasons, Bierzo is in the Castilla Y León region in Northwest Spain. From a climate and geography standpoint, it has more in common with the rugged and remote province of Galicia. The vineyard areas are in a natural amphitheatre with mountains rising above them to 2000 meters.

Bierzo was put on the international map by one of Spain’s famous winemaking families, the Palacios. The Palacios gained their reputation in Priorat, Spain, for their incredible wines produced from vines on slate soils. They were initially attracted to Bierzo for its similar slate soils. The Bierzo DO was created in 1989, and in 2017 a Burgundian-style classification followed with a focus on single vineyards.

Dominio de Tares has followed in the Palacios’ footsteps and is now one of Bierzo’s top producers. Founded in 2000, Tares now produce wine from 30 hectares of vineyards across Bierzo. They have old vines, between 40 and 90 years old, at various altitudes in the region.

Dominio de Tares champions the two key grapes in Bierzo: Godello (white) and Mencia (red). Godello can draw comparisons to Chardonnay, especially higher-end examples of Godello with oak ageing. Unoaked versions are lighter and have a fresh electric acidity. Mencia, or Jaen in Portugal, is called the Pinot Noir of Spain for its delicate aromatics, fine tannins, and linear acidity.

Dominio de Tares also owns Dominio Dostares in Parajes de Los Oteros (León). The winery was founded in 2004 and champions a little-known native variety called Prieto Picudo. Their Prieto Picudo vines are between 80 and 110 years old.

Are you interested in learning more about Dominio de Tares or Bierzo? Please stop by one of our stores for a chat! We may even have a bottle of Mencia open on the weekends.

Sonrisa – £16

Sonrisa translates to smile. This is an unoaked version of Godello, matured in stainless steel tank for five months on its fine lees. The wine has crisp acidity and notes of white flowers and citrus. Yes, it will put a smile on your face.

Bembibre – £34

Parajes DO Bembibre is a highly regarded vineyard area in Bierzo. This is where Dominio de Tares has some of its oldest vines (80+ years old). This is a savoury style of Mencia with notes of ripe fruit, toast and balsamic. The wine spends 14-18 months in French oak.

Cepas Viejas – £22.50

This is Dominio de Tares’ flagship wine and a great example of Mencia. The vines are 60 years old, and the wine is aged for a year in French and American oak. Tasting notes include blueberry and wild blackberry fruit, with cocoa, fennel and liquorice.

Baltos – £15

This is a youthful version of Mencia with lighter oak ageing in French oak. The grapes are sourced from 40-year-old vineyards. Dominio de Tares refers to this wine as the Mencia to enjoy every day. Tasting notes include wild berries, liquorice, graphite and fennel.

El Paisano de Tares – £13

Try this wine chilled! Somewhere between a red and a rosé, this Mencia-led blend has a fragrant nose of violet, plum, wild berries, and fennel. The blend includes both red and white grapes, featuring Garnacha, Palomino, Doña Blanca & Godello alongside the Mencia.

Estay – £15

Made using the super rare grape variety Prieto Picudo, this wine shows vibrant notes of strawberry and savoury complexity. It is matured for four to six months in French oak for a rounded, harmonious structure and subtle toasty notes.