viernes, 5 de abril de 2013

Conde de San Cristobal 2010, Ribera del Duero, Spain


- Wine making: The handsome presentation of this label design comes from a historic text found in the local Town Hall dating back to the 16th century and refers to the Pago de Valdestremero all silk-screened on the elegant bottle. The wine is made from grapes which come exclusively from the Conde de San Cristóbal vineyards: 80% Tinto Fino, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot from 15-30 year old vines. Once the grapes are unloaded into the hoppers they pass through a vibrating selection table and then through a low-revolution destemmer and on to the fermentation tanks by means of gravity. A cold maceration, to extract the maximum amount of aromas, is first carried out at a low temperature of 8 deg.C for 3 to 5 days in the 19,000 litre fermentation tanks followed by fermentation, at a temperature of 23 to 27 deg.C. A subsequent maceration of the solids occurs for 15 to 20 days. Each deposit has an automatic remontage system and in addition the must is pumped over each day for colour extraction. The malolactic fermentation takes place partially in new French oak barrels. The wine spends 12-14 months in French (Haute Futaie), Russian (Caucasus) and American (Missouri) oak barrels and is racked every 6 months before being bottled without cold stabilization, clarification or filtering. Cork - natural top quality cork 49/24. 13.5% Vol. Total production 158,117 bottles of 75cl and 2465 Magnums (150cl).

- Tasting notes: "Bright, deep, dark cherry red colour with crimson rim. Expressive, complex, toasted aromas reminiscent of ripe blackberry, fresh prunes enriched with ripe plums and black olives. Compact, dense, generousblackberry fruit mingling with mineral and exotic spicy tones on the palate, powerful and hearty, well structured with velvety soft tannins on a very elegant and lingering finish. The wine is ready for drinking now but may be laid down and enjoyed in a few years’ time".  burridgewine

The IWC 2012 - Commended
Decanter World Wine Awards 2011 - Commended
Guía Peñin 2010 - 90 points.
El País: Carlos Delgado (one of the best Spanish wine critics) - 9 points (out of 10)
Robert Parker - 91 points

- Winery: Pago de Valdestremero, the Estate purchased by Grupo Vinícola Marqués de Vargas in 2000, was selected for its natural beauty and environment and also because it has the optimum conditions for the growing of vines. It enjoys a reputation for achieving the perfect levels of ripeness in the grapes. New vines were planted and a modern winery, equipped with the most advanced technology, was built and opened in 2006. This winery, situated close to Peñafiel, in the very heart of DO Ribera del Duero, lies concealed at the top of a valley surrounded by its own vineyards both in the valley and on the plateau above. These have different micro-climates and soils, being clayey and sandy, and alluvial. They cover 80 hectares in total, which are divided into 7 plots and planted with vines of Tinto Fino, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, grown on trellises and reaching a density of 3105 vines per hectare. The distance from the vineyards to the winery is no more than 2 km., so the maximum time from the cutting of the grapes to their reception is only 35-40 minutes. The vineyards lie at an altitude of between 780 and 880m.. The average yield is between 1 to 1.4 kg/plant. Absolute priority is given to the fruit; the vines are pruned in winter and again in summer, and the fruit thinned to reduce the yield per hectare, all of which enables the production of wines with intense colour, powerful and complex structure, glorious fruit and great potential for improvement in bottle. No pesticides or herbicides are used, and only natural fertilizers. There is a drip-irrigation system used only for winter irrigation during very dry years. The grapes are harvested by hand, and each plot and variety is vinified separately. The winery has 3150 French, Russian and American oak barrels, made by the prestigious barrel makers, Murua and Seguin Moreau. Although the wine complies with the required barrel ageing to be designated a Crianza, the oenologists have opted for a generic wine, since it allows more freedom for the winemaker, Jorge Peique Valle, to work with the exact time he feels the wine needs to spend in barrel and bottle.

The Grupo Vinícola Marqués de Vargas now has a presence in the three most prestigious regions of Spain. The philosophy behind this new project in DO Ribera del Duero is along the same lines as for their Marqués de Vargas wines from Rioja and their Pazo San Mauro wines from Rias Baixas - the most advanced winemaking techniques are used without departing from the regional wine-making tradition. The name Conde de San Cristóbal is a title of Pelayo de la Mata, the current Marqués de Vargas.

- Price: £20.00


Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo are commonly blended together in the north of Spain, where the nation's flagship variety, Tempranillo, is well-suited to blending with the top two red wine grapes, Cabernet Sauvianon and Merlot, from Bordeaux. These blends can vary significantly in terms of the proportions of each variety used, winemaking styles and maturation methods.

The best examples of the blend are rich and tightly structured, and require several years to achieve their best. However, many entry-level examples of the blend are bright and fruity wines designed for early consumption. The blend is used throughout Spain, but particularly in Ribera del Duero and, increasingly, Navarra.

A wide range of red and black fruit flavors are commonly described in these wines, often with the tell-tale vanilla accent that comes from maturation in American oak.

Related blends include: Cabernet - Tempranillo, Cabernet - Merlot - Syrah, Cabernet - Merlot - Sangiovese.


Ribera del Duero DO (Denominación de Origen) is an important wine-producing area in the Castilla y León autonomous region of Spain. Its reputation is largely thanks to the high-quality of its red wines, the best examples of which are renowned throughout the world. The capital of Ribera del Duero is the historic town of Aranda de Duero, which boasts a series of antique underground cellars (bodegas) built to store wine. The interconnecting cellars reach a depth of 40ft (12m) in places. Despite a long history of winemaking, Ribera del Duero was not awarded DO status until 1982. A corresponding Consejo Regulador (wine-regulating authority) was then established to administer it.

Ribera del Duero sits on the elevated northern plateau of the Iberian Peninsula at 2800ft (800m) above sea level. It is divided by the Duero River (as its name would suggest - Ribera del Duero means 'bank of the Duero'), which provides the local vineyards with a much-needed water supply.

The region's inland location, coupled with the sheltering effects of the nearby Sierra de la Demanda and Sierra de Guadaramma mountain ranges, creates an extreme climate in which hot and dry summers are followed by harsh winters. Temperatures can range from -0.4F to 104F (-18C to 40C) and winter and even spring frosts are a real threat here. In the growing season, the high daytime temperatures are combined with considerably cooler nights - a condition which assists in the optimum accumulation of aromas and other chemical compounds (phenolics) in the grapes.

Alternating layers of limestone, marl and chalk under silt and clay topsoil add complexity and character to Ribera del Duero wines.

The leading local producer is Bodeaas Vega Sicilia, which took the wine world by storm with its 'Unico' label. Pesquera is another renowned brand, created by the region's best-known winemaker, Alejandro Fernandez. The success of Vega Sicilia and Pesquera quickly turned local producers away from bulk rosé and selling to co-operatives and focused their attentions on making quality reds. Other prominent producers include Dominio de Pingus and Emilio Moro.

Nowadays, Ribera del Duero is almost entirely devoted to red wine, with Tempranillo the most widely planted grape variety. It is known locally either as Tinto Fino or Tinta del Pais and produces wines which are deeply colored, with a firm tannin structure and complex aromas of mulberry and blackberry. Most of the top examples age gracefully for years. According to DO regulations, Tempranillo must make up a minimum of 75% of all vinos tintos (red wines). The balance is made up of Cabernet Sauvionon, Merlot and Malbec (varieties that were introduced by Vega Sicilia well over a century ago) or up to 5% of Albillo or Gamacha (Grenache).

Gamacha is used for most rosé wines, and a few wineries employ small quantities of Bordeaux varieties in their red blends. Albillo is the only white grape grown in Ribera del Duero, producing wines for local consumption that don't qualify for the DO, or in minor quantities as a softener for heavy reds.

References: burridgewine and wine-searcher

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