Uncorked: Dominik Huber of Terroir al Limit

Marking a resounding departure from Parker-influenced oaky and heavy reds in Priorat, Dominik Huber of Terroir al Limit is practicing restraint in his winemaking, using old-vine Grenache and Carignan in pursuit of finesse and purity. Originally founded together with Swartland pioneer Eben Sadie, the winery is now under full control of Huber, who has launched the winery into international stardom, with 80% of its wines exported today. The winery makes different ranges of wines from entry-level wines to his ‘grand cru’ wines of ‘Les Manyes’, a 100% Grenache. In an interview with dbHK, the vintner talks about his passion for food, hiking along Montsant Mountain in Priorat and his treasured 2006 ‘Les Manyes’.

What vintage are you?

1971. It’s a good vintage. My ex partner was born in 1970, and it was not a good vintage.

What bottle sparked your love for wine? 

I really fell in love with Mediterranean wine through Domaine Gauby, close to Perpignan in the south of France.

What would be as a wine? 

A very light, cool climate Grenache.

Where are you the happiest? 

I am happiest when I hike the Montsant Mountain on a Sunday morning in Priorat. I almost do it every second weekend. It’s about 1,200 metres high and it’s about a four or five hour hike.

What is your greatest vice? 

It’s food in general, especially great food. It’s getting out of control.

Best advice you ever got?

It’s time. You have to give time to things. You better learn very quickly as a winemaker, otherwise you won’t make it. A chef can go to the market and buy his fish, again and again, a winemaker has only one opportunity a year, which makes you very constrained. And you are trying, you know. It’s brutal to accept that you have to give things time.

Your cellar is underwater, which wine would you dive in and save? 

The first bottle of ‘Les Manyes’ we made in 2006 because there’s only one bottle left.

What is the best and worst thing about the wine business? 

The best thing is you can dine out at beautiful restaurants all the time, and the worst thing is that you have to carry all day long all the cases around. Cases of grapes, cases of wines and cases of whatever.

What’s on your wine bucket list? 

Well, I haven’t tried the great historic wines of Burgundy because in my opinion there were a lot of bad wines made in the last 20 years, even in the greatest estates. What I missed out are the historic great wines. These are wines I would like to taste a little bit more.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

I would invite my father. Just one guest. Because we had a bad relationship and I would like to show him what I made in the past 20 years. My father is actually not in the wine industry.

Personal satisfaction (Parker points 0-100)

Well to be very honest, I am very satisfied with what’s happening. I would say 86, something like that. I don’t believe in these Parker points and that if under 90, it’s not drinkable. I think 86 is a lot out of a 100. If you give yourself 96 or 100, you don’t have to wake up the next morning. What is a 100-point wine anyway? It doesn’t exist in my opinion. And even 100-point wine has the possibility to be made better.

Which wine would you serve at your funeral?

I think I would drink the last bottle of ‘Les Manyes’ 2006.

* Terroir al Limit wines are available in Hong Kong through wine retailer Watson’s Wine 

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