Doug Decants ~ The Wines of Dominio del Urogallo

Bangers from Cangas

Fran Asencio is the man behind Dominio del Urogallo, a domain of old vines, complex soils and steep slopes, in the cooler climate of an Atlantic-influenced region. He now owns about 14 hectares of vines, which he brought back to health through organic and biodynamic farming and restored structurally by backbreaking manual labour. He is striving to create a forum for the voice of Cangas to speak. This means using the local varieties, fermenting with indigenous yeast and making the wine with as little manipulation and intervention as possible.

The climate in Cangas is very peculiar due to its situation, its topography, and the distance to the Cantabrian Sea. In summary, it might be called oceanic with a continental influence. Winters are very cold, with temperatures going down to -10 º C, while in summer the heat can reach 35ºC. Most of the year, the area is influenced by oceanic winds and the northwest–southeast disposition of the Narcea Valley. These factors make the average rain at 700 mm a year, 35% less than the rest of Asturias, June, July, and August being dry in general. Sun radiation is considerably higher in Cangas due to the influence of the surrounding mountains.

Soil in the vineyards is mainly composed of slate and the altitude ranges from 450m to 750m. Meticulous attention is paid to all details in the vineyards. For example, one single bud per shoot is left to optimise quality over quantity. Vineyards are fertilised only rarely – and always with organic materials. Every year, in May or June green pruning is done and some years the bunches from the first flowering are removed.

The AB-AL is 70% Albarín Blanco and 30% Albillo. Albarín is light-skinned, native to Asturias and Galicia, and genetically distinct to the very similar sounding Albariño, although also fairly aromatic. The grapes are manually harvested, destemmed, whereupon alcoholic fermentation takes place in inox tank with a very soft pressing before fermentation starts with indigenous yeasts. The wine is then matured in used 600-litre French oak for six months. Malolactic fermentation occurs in the barrels on fine lees and the wine is bottled without filtration, or fining. No sulphur used in vinification, only a tiny amount before bottling.

The aromas are delicate, with subtle hints of almond and white blossom. On the palate there is plenty of texture– a creamy, rounded mouthfeel with silica-like minerality and a savoury, saline finish.

100 AB 100 is 100% Albarín Blanco from 100-year-old vineyards in three tiny plots yields very small quantities of grapes. This wine is also vinified in tank but is matured for 18 months in 600-litre demi-muids. This extended period of ageing on the lees gives the wine its fine structure, whereby it manages to be delicate yet intense at the same time. The chalky, shell-like character of the wine allied to cool salinity gives this wine its impression of almost weightless minerality.The winningly-named and highly reinitialised AT-VN-MN Tinto is Albarin Tinto, Mencia with 10% Verdejo Tinto (AKA Bastardo AKA Trousseau). Once again, this wine is vinified in inox and ages for six months in used barrels. The red has a Galician vibe. Bright, juicy red and black fruits emerge, then the tannins subtly introduce themselves. The balance of fruit and tension is quite lovely and will keep you coming back for more.

The Field Blend artfully combines all the local red grapes: 25% Carrasquin, 25% Verdejo Tinto, 25% Albarin Tinto and 25% Mencia from parcels on slate, quartz, and anthracite.  The vineyards of the Tebongo (1.50 ha), Escolinas (0.80 ha) and La Paraxa (3.50 ha) plots are home to these varieties, where they grow in clayey-silty soils with slate vein. The grapes are 50% destemmed with the remainder kept whole cluster. Fermentation takes place with native yeasts in inox and followed by 18 months ageing in used 500-litre Burgundy barrels. The wine is so very elegant (over-used tasting term) and oozes forest fruit flavours with secondary notes of slate and cool earth with a hint of black pepper lurking in the background.

2021 Urogallo AB-AL Blanco

2020 Urogallo 100AB100 Blanco

2021 Urogallo AT-VN-MN Tinto

2020 Urogallo Field Blend Tinto


Interested in finding out more about the wines of Dominio del Urogallo? Contact us directly: | | 01483 538820

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