Notes from De Maison Selections:
"The pioneering duo of Pablo Eguzkiza and Telmo Rodríguez started working in the Val do Bibei in 2002. Recognizing the potential to make world-class wines in this historic valley, they began a project restoring vineyards that would take more than a decade to come to fruition.
Ladeiras do Xil is named for the hillsides along the Sil River (literally “slopes of the Sil”), which, along with the Miño River, is the lifeblood of the Ourense province, including the Valdeorras and Ribeira Sacra wine regions. Ladeiras do Xil produces a highly-coveted collection of extremely low-production, single-vineyard grand cru red wines: Valbuxán, As Caborcas, Falcoeira, and O Diviso, along with two white wines: Branco de Santa Cruz and Falcoeira Branco. All are field blends of indigenous grape varietals reflecting the purity and transcendence of one of the most exceptional terroirs in Europe. Ladeiras do Xil is a life’s project to recover and vindicate the exceptional sites along the Sil and Bibei rivers, uncovering their grand cru potential.
Falcoeira Branco, in the village of Santa Cruz, is thought of by locals as one of the very best grand cru vineyards in the area, displaying the fantastic depth and finesse of which the finest vineyards from this interior part of Galicia are capable. Falcoeira sits at 400 to 600 meters on narrow, vertiginous terraces clinging to steep slopes oriented to the southwest. The vineyard had been totally neglected, and it took over a decade to pull out the wild vegetation, rebuild the terraces, and re-plant 100 stone terraces with 2.75ha of vineyards. Vines are now around 20 years old, planted with biologically-diverse heritage clones from ancient vineyards of mencía, sousón, merenzao, and caíño tinto. The vineyard is split in two by a small access road. The fruit above the road is planted to red grapes for Falcoeira tinto, and the bottom, closer to the Bibei river, is 0.45ha planted to the white varieties godello, doña branca, and palomino that go into this cuvée Falcoeira Branco. The soils here are coarsely textured decomposed granite called sábrego. Falcoeira Branco is an intense, elegant, and profound wine, like the place it comes from, which makes it one of the most exciting wines in the world. Viticulture is organic, the grapes are hand-harvested, and wines are made with low intervention. Falcoeira Branco is extremely limited – 951 bottles produced."