Ribeiro, Spain

Pilar Higuero

Pilar is the self-confessed ‘crazy wine woman of Galicia’. But the story of how she got here is fascinating.

Her roots lie deep in wine - one side of the family is originally from Condrieu, one of the great white wine regions of France.

The other side were Catalans - and involved in wine too. But when phylloxera struck - a nasty bug which devastated most of Europe’s vineyards throughout the 19th century - they fled south to Malaga, as far away from wine and vineyards as possible.

Then 17 years ago Pilar discovered a crumbling 16th century palace, surrounded by vines, called Lagar de Sabariz. Her mother wasn’t best pleased - her family had lost everything due to wine.

But Pilar was already in love with the place - there was something about the soils and climate that felt similar to Condrieu.

So off she went, despite her mother’s wishes, restoring the place to its former majesty. I’ve been, and was blown away by the place.

It’s the only biodynamic vineyard in Galicia. As a cancer survivor, Pilar was determined to make everything completely natural and sustainable. ‘It’s a place to live and die’ she told me.

And when you open a bottle of her wine, you can smell and taste the landscape. The apples, pears, flowers, wild herbs and blossoms that are so abundant around the property - it takes you right back there.

Making wine around here isn’t for the faint-hearted… last year, Pilar lost two-thirds of her grapes in a sudden hail storm in September. Imagine that?

But this is Pilar’s life work, her destiny, her chance to continue her family’s history in wine.

And that for me, makes enjoying her wine so much more special.

Pilar's wine