We drove to the vineyards and one could not help but marvel at the stark beauty of Ribera del Duero. The hills undulated with vineyards. It was Fall. So, the leaves had changed color and in most cases had fallen off. The first vineyard we went to were at least 80 years old! You could look at these old vines and the thick, gnarly trunks made them look like old men stooping over! There are Zinfandel vines in Sonoma that look this old.
The grapes from these ancient vines, said César, goes into making the Vendemia Seleccionada which means “Harvest Select”. These vines looked like old men – gnarly and thick. The trunk was thick, almost like that of a small tree. These vines are quite miserly with their fruit and tend to produce smaller more intense berries. The skins of these grapes are thick and this makes small volume of really intense wine! So the Vendemia Seleccionada is made in limited quantities and it is amazing delicious! More on that later.
There is a second plot of vines nearby which are younger. They are around 30 years old. Mind you, thirty years is not young for a grapevine, but compared to 80+ years, they are young! The grapes for the Media Crianza wines are sourced form these “young” vines.
The vineyards see no pesticides and farming is biodynamic with management an harvest timed with the lunar cycles. The terrain may be harsh and the growing conditions difficult, but these vines are tended with lots of love and care. The axiom goes that all wines are made in the vineyard. Great wines are made in great vineyards. These are great vineyards. Both José Luis and César are proud of their land and rightfully so!
Probably time to talk about the wines now.