Xose Lois Sebio
90 points - Parker
Super Héroe is here to save the day! A ripe fruit-filled wonder from very old indigenous vines in Ribeiro, Galicia. This wine is part of Xose Lois Sebio’s Viño de Encostas (Wines of the Slopes), a personal project which includes 10 different wines from several regions in Galicia, using traditional native grape varieties.
The idea behind Super Héroe is a wine that symbolizes the fight against los vinos clónicos (clonal wines); representing and celebrating all that is unique versus the globalized. The personal versus the impersonal, the distinct versus the common and industrial.
The wine is made with minimal intervention from a blend of various indigenous grapes ( Ferrol, Sousón, Caiño Longo, Bastardo) all of which come from a small plot of very old vines (50-70 years old) in Gomariz, Ribeiro, the most important and historic winemaking subregion of Galicia. Xose Lois’ meticulous care combined with the old age of the vines make for a wine with super fine tannins, it’s less concentrated, easy to drink, ripe, and with surprising fruity intensity. The old age of the vines also means that they are low-yielding but with deep root systems that impart complex flavours and minerality.
The wine has a dark violet and cherry colour. Notes of violets, lilies, blackberries, black currant, and lowland mountain forest. Hints of black pepper, botanical aromas and faint minerality reminiscent of slate and schists. On the palate, it’s balanced and very juicy with an explosive fruit blast followed by elegance and complexity to boot. Silky fine tannins accompany the juiciness, something that is only possible with very old vines. A long and intense finish, lots of character and very unique, this wine is a must-try for those that prefer light or medium-bodied reds.
Super Héroe is a wine that calls for a second glass, and third, fourth…etc. etc.
Annual Production: 4400 bottles (The club has access to 200 annually)
Type: Tinto (red)
Finish: Fruit-filled, balanced, elegantly deep and lasting
Grape Variety: A wide mix of very old indigenous varieties - Ferrol, Sousón, Caiño Longo, Bastardo, and a handful of other native varieties
Viticulture / Farming: Sustainable & Biodynamic - Terroir Driven
Ageing: 14 months in used 500L oak barrels
Winemakers: Xose Lois Sebio
Bodega: Xose Lois Sebio
Region: Gomariz, Province of Ourense, Galicia
Designation of Origin: D.O. Ribeiro
Micro-Climate: Mediterranean/Atlantic – cool & humid winters (2ºC) and short dry summers (29ºC)
Elevation: 150-350 meters above sea level
Age of Vines: between 50 - 70 years old
Soil: Clay and rocks (schists)
- Drink now or keep for up to 4 years
- No need to decant, simply open 10 minutes before consuming
- Pairs well with red meats, Manchego cheese, Jamon Iberico, stews, paella and other rice dishes, as well as chocolate desserts
- Ideally served just below room temperature
Xose Lois Sebio makes wine from vineyards in several regions within Galicia including: Gomariz, O Bolo, Sanxenxo, Valtuille, and Santiuste. These particular vineyards are located near the village of Gomariz, in the DO Ribeiro, Galicia. The village of Gomariz is in the Northernmost part of Ribeiro, an area that is influenced by the Avia river, a tributary to the Miño, and benefits from a blend of Atlantic and Mediterranean climates. Though the region is not far from the Atlantic, it is protected from its harsh winds and storms by mountain ranges to the West which form a natural barrier.
Gomariz is often referred to as the Golden Mile of Ribeiro, and is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in Spain, dating back to the 10th century. In medieval times, Ribeiro was without a doubt the most important wine region in Galicia, ancient documents show that both religious estates and royalty were heavily involved in the region. The Sistine and Benedictine orders settled in Ribeiro, the monks made the most of the land by renting the vineyards to local farmers, and this served as the main source of income for the monasteries. This is why so many ancient architectural examples of cathedrals and monasteries are peppered throughout the landscape, on the footsteps of the vineyards. In fact, Ribeiro wine was aboard the Nao Santa Maria, the ship that took Christopher Columbus to America.
The microclimate of Gomariz is relatively mild with cool and humid winters rarely going below 2ºC and warm dry summers reaching 30ºC.
These vineyards are found in a lush green landscape of rolling hills, the vines sit on steep slopes and terraced plots with stone walls. This type of layout makes cultivation very laborious, which is why the grapes are harvested at the very end of the season, at full maturity, which together with the composition of the old soils (mostly clay and schists) results in lighter, less concentrated and very fruity wines. This is what makes Sebio’s red wines so different when compared to other Galician tintos.
Manually harvested and sorted near the end of September. Vinification occurs in large open-top stainless steel vats of 1500L. The grapes undergo cold maceration for one week followed by temperature-controlled cold fermentation for another week. In order to protect the delicate fruit flavours, great care is taken when moving the wine with very delicate punch-downs of the cap followed by a very light manual pressing using a traditional screw press. Xose Lois Sebio’s careful process ensures that only the sweetest, ripest, and fruit-enhancing tannins are extracted.
Finally, malolactic fermentation (the natural process of converting malic acid to lactic acid) begins in the fermentation vats before finishing in the barrels. The wine is aged for 14 months in used 500L oak barrels.
When it comes to winemaking, Xose-Lois Sebio is both an innovator and a traditionalist. Quite possibly one of the most knowledgeable winemakers in Ribeiro, Galicia, Xose-Lois draws from his extensive experience in both the theory and practice of winemaking. He was born and grew up in Vigo, Galicia, a coastal city in northwest Spain not far from where he now makes some of his Viños de Encostas. At the University of Ourense in Galicia, Xose-Lois completed a degree in Agricultural Engineering and a Masters in Oenology. He studied alongside some of Galicia’s greats and formed a strong bond with the entire winemaking community of the region, which he further solidified by working at various wineries in Rias Baixas, Ribeiro, and several other regions.
It was during his studies that he met Ricardo Carreira, the owner of Coto de Gomariz, one of Ribeiro’s top-rated wineries. In 2002, Xose-Lois began working with Ricardo and together they pushed the envelope; planting vineyards, bringing new wines to market, and completely revitalizing Coto de Gomariz. Together they modernized the winery and showed the world the true potential of Ribeiro wines.
In 2010 Xose-Lois began work on his personal project, Viños de Encostas. He became obsessed with the idea of creating honest wines with no makeup and a distinct personality. With Viños de Encostas (wines of the slopes), Xose-Lois focuses on forgotten locations, off the beaten path, areas that are difficult to cultivate, all the while practicing unusual winemaking techniques.
Of the 10 wines that comprise Viños de Encostas, some are traditional and others radically innovative, but they all display the finest aspects of the native grapes and their terroirs. The vines are low-yielding and costly to cultivate, which means they are anything but conventional. They are all small-batch wines, some of them cultivated organically, others biodynamically, and some more conventionally, depending on the location and the topography of each vineyard. Xose-Lois’ objective is to create wines that express the unique identities of Galicia’s native grape varieties and their terroirs. All of Xose-Lois’ wines are low-intervention, low-sulphur, and made without any unnatural additives.
90 Points - Luis Gutiérrez Santo Domingo (Wine Advocate, Robert Parker)