Historia ( Ribera del Duero )
It is likely that even the Romans already cultivated the vineyard in this region, creating wineries to supply their legions. But it was the monastic orders that propagated the wine culture on the Iberian plateau. Already in the twelfth century, the monks from Cluny made wine in Valbuena de Duero. In the sixteenth century, the wines that were made in Valladolid and Burgos were dark reds, but they did not seem to have the race that today characterizes their successors.
Only in the second half of the 19th century the Lecanda family founded a winery on the banks of the Duero River. In their vineyards, international strains were acclimatized, such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec. Very soon, those vineyards produced an exceptional wine that was called Vega Sicilia.
This brand was an island for a century in the middle of an unknown region, since the region's winemakers only had means to produce local and rustic wines.
Spanish wine is so integrated in the history of culture that its own crises correspond to cultural crises. And so, when phylloxera falls on the Douro territories in 1898, along with the Spanish loss of Cuba and the Philippines, it leaves an entire generation without wine.
After the great plague, Vega Sicilia manages to regain its prestige thanks to the initiative of a Basque winemaker, Txomin Garramiola. But the wines of the Ribera del Duero remain anonymous until another great man founded, in the 70s, a winery capable of producing an exceptional wine. Alejandro Fernández creates his winery in Pesquera de Duero and develops, in 1975, a reserve that amazes half the world.
The first red Pesquera was an impressive and racial wine, embodied in the sensual matter of the tannins - components of the grape that give flavor and body to the wine -, exalted by intense aromas of ripe berries and prunes, with mysterious notes of graphite and smoke. Over the years, Alejandro Fernández perfected his elaboration methods, obtaining a more refined fishing red, with a finer and juicier tannin.
Since 1982, the Ribera wine region has obtained its own Denomination of Origin. The initiative of the traditional wineries was supported by the work of the small winemakers, who make every year some exceptional wines that are among the best Spanish reds. And this legend was strengthened with the contribution of good winemakers and enthusiastic investors, not forgetting the classic firms, which have continued to create jewelry such as Alión or Haza County.
The great wines of the Ribera del Duero have marked a definitive change in the appreciation of the new reds. Lovers of good color, noble graduation (13th or 13th), powerful tannin and aristocratic presence, must always be attentive to the jewels that are born in this unique region.
Located in the heart of Castilla and León, the region extends over a hundred kilometers, following the course of the Alto Duero. It includes 19 municipalities in Valladolid, five in Segovia, six in Soria and 59 in Burgos. The province of Burgos stands out with 85% of the vineyard.
These highland vineyards extend along both banks of the river, usually very close to the banks. The widest area barely reaches 30 kilometers. The lower lands are dedicated to irrigated crops and the highest levels of paramera are occupied by cereal, while the vineyard is grown in the intermediate terraces, although some wine growers prefer high areas “where the vine freezes”. The relief is wavy. The flat and stony lands of the valley alternate with the steep hills, sometimes crowned with haughty castles and dotted with pine forests and forests.
The vineyard also extends along the collateral valleys of Duratón, Gromejón, Bañuelos, Arandilla and Riaza. In addition to the vineyard, wheat, beets and vegetables are grown.
The most traditional variety in the area is the country's ink or fine red, also called tempranillo, which occupies 60% of the vineyard. This variety offers here more pigment and better fruity acidity than in other Spanish climates, qualities that allow to elaborate wines more elegant, better structured and very rich in extract. Garnacha is also cultivated, which is not used in breeding reds - at least within the D.O. - and international strains such as cabernet sauvignon, malbec and merlot. The latter produce, in Valbuena, 13º wines that support a long oxidative aging process, evolving towards wines rich in dry extract and elegant acidity, which melt their juicy tannins in the roasted and smoked aged oak.