Ribeira Sacra

In an effort to shed some light on how I study for WSET Diploma Course’s D3 exam, Le Club des Vins is running a series of posts covering wine regions. Today’s topic: Ribeira Sacra

📍 Location

Ribeira Sacra is located in the heart of Galicia, in the north-western corner of Spain. Ribeira Sacra literally means ‘holy river bank’. It’s like the Mosel Valley but then in Spain (ok, different river, grapes, climate etc.). The boundaries of the DO are marked by both the Mino and Sil river. 

In a nutshell

  • Spain
  • Grapes are grown on ‘bancadas’
  • Slate & granite
  • It’s all about Mencia

☁️ Climate

It’s more inland than Rias Baixas, the perhaps better-known DO of Galicia. Therefore, the Atlantic Ocean has less influence, the valleys have a continental climate with long warm summers and cold winters. The grapes are grown on terraces (‘bancadas’) on the steep slopes on the banks of the rivers, which ensures good drainage and maximal sunshine. 

🌋 Soils

It’s mostly slate and granite, meaning: well-draining and heat-retaining.

Source: Myguidegalicia.com

🍇 Grapes & styles

It’s all about mencia here (and I’m a big fan) and a bit of brancellao. Funnily enough, there’s quite some merenzao planted here as well. You might not recognize this grape, but it’s trousseau from Jura #mindisblown 🤯 Other varieties for red are alicante bouchet (called garnacha tintorera here), sousao (vinhao – yikes), caino tinto and tempranillo. For whites, they grow godello, treixadura and albarino.

💡 Something you didn’t know (did you?)

Only mencia, godello and alvarino can be made in mono-cépages. Other varieties must be blended to be allowed to label it under DO Ribeira Sacra. One of my favourite producers is Dominio do Bibei 🧡⠀

Your turn now 

I always put a new region on instagram first. If you have any additions or comments on a region, please do share. You can drop a comment on instagram or on the website – see below. Your help is much appreciated!


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