Among the world’s most ambitious yet intimate wine estates (to which one usually arrives by boat), Finca Míllara is the dream of Fernando de Santiago, a lifelong wine professional with a family business in La Coruña, Spain. De Santiago had fallen in love with the emerging, dramatic and nearly inaccessible Ribeira Sacra wine district, a historically significant wine region that had been virtually abandoned due to the dubious economy of farming the steep slopes during the difficult years of post– Civil War Spain. In the 1990s, renewed interest in Ribeira Sacra, fostered by tourism combined with a new awareness of Spanish Wines, gave rise to a D.O., encompassing the steep canyons of the Miño and Sil Rivers and their confluence. In 2000, de Santiago began purchasing parcels in the uninhabited hamlet of A Míllara overlooking the Miño, eventually acquiring the entire township and its surrounding slopes from hundreds of proprietary descendants living in South America and other distant locales. Reclaiming and restructuring the vineyard terraces began in earnest, and restoration of A Míllara itself—following strict guidelines to maintain original architecture—incorporated the modern winemaking and aging facility. Ten hectares of restructured terraces out of twenty hectares were completed before the beginning of the 2007 harvest.
Late 2016, Raul Perez joined the team as consultant winemaker. Besides the existing Mencia and Godello vines, he is looking to explore other native varieties such as Souson and Merenzao. His experience will allow the domaine to improve the vinification process and better respect the terroir and the uniqueness of their varieties. Current changes include:
– new cuvées as the result of Raul’s parcellation of the vineyards, with a barrel-fermented Godello for the 2014 vintage.
– two new wooden tanks for fermenting the grapes from the oldest vines.
– replacing the existing barrels by larger, 500L ones, to reduce the oak influence, slow the oxygenation, and better express the terroir.
Vines are primarily Mencía, soils predominantly decomposing red slate. Southern exposure, steep inclination and reflection from the Os Peares reservoir provide for ample grape maturity, allowing the grapes to be harvested with optimum acidity.
Farming practices: No herbicides are used, the vineyards are plowed. The treatments are sulfur-based, and the farming is close to organic.