I was really excited when the Yalocotoyo.com agency which specializes in Wine Marketing and Social Media invited me to visit the magnificent Valtravieso Winery. Very few of us were given this opportunity and I was one of the chosen. Ever since my time at Laviña, the wine Cathedral where I had the responsibility of being the first Communications Director, it has been one of the wines on my lists of favourites.
Álvaro Cerrada, CEO at Yalocatoyo.com, always does a good job. I like his style which is at once formal and professional yet warm. We are a group of bloggers and I quickly strike up conversation with some of them.
It was early and there was a lot to see, so after being welcomed with a Verdejo wine from the Rueda wine region by the managers of the winery, we had to get moving and we set off to see the vines in some off-road 4×4’s.
Pablo González Beteré, CEO of Valtravieso, gave us an outline of the philosophy of the winery which can be summarized as taking advantage of the resources provided by nature. The vineyards were planted in 1985. Presently they produce just under 600,000 bottles. The winery currently produces 7 Ribera del Duero wines and a 2011 Verdejo, Dominio de Nogara of the Rueda region.
Their own vineyards supply 70% of their production needs, the remaining 30% is bought from local producers with whom they have sustained a working relationship for many years, maintaining a control over each vineyard.
At last we arrive at the estate’s vineyard, which is located 920 metres above sea level, making it the highest vineyard within the D.O. Ribera del Duero. An Atlantic climate, with an enormous thermal contrast between day and night, a very nutrient-poor stony soil with surface clay, an active limestone bedrock and pronounced winds from the northern sub-plateau of the Meseta Central, which favour the perfect health of the vines, slow ripening and a perfect alcoholic-phenological balance all of which together with specific wine production tasks provide the winery with the high quality raw materials so necessary for the production of elegant, fresh wines, with excellent structure, minerality and acidity.
Ricardo Velasco, oenologist at the winery, believes that only by being the best can excellent wines be produced. This is why Valtravieso is continually investing in studying the vineyards, involving high investment both in terms of people and resources. They have international advisors and their technical and commercial teams do great work. Soil and vines come together to create a perfect whole. They invest a lot of time observing the plants and the soil. The grapes are tasted, natural treatments are used to provide what is lacking in the soil. They told us that they prune with intelligence, graft shoots, thin out the plants, that in general they let the vines convey their needs. As Pablo says, “we work the lands and this shows. The wine production process with our rocky soils and without drip irrigation becomes much more complex and challenging. Our wines are made in the vineyard, something which we feel strongly about at Valtravieso.”
By the way, when we arrived at the vineyard we were met by a table splendidly adorned with bottles, glasses and local specialities to try. We tasted the 2012 and 2013 vintages!
The next phase had us tasting wines from the tanks and the casks. I admit that this surprised me; at none of the wineries that I’ve visited and they are many, have I been able to taste the wine directly from the stainless steel tanks where the magic of future wines is being created. Only a few days ago the grapes were crushed and de-stemmed and the juice was taken to these huge stainless steel tanks for the maceration process. In four or five days they have fermented in a 20,00 litre tank. The temperature never goes above 28 degrees. The wine that we taste is a pressed wine in this case a Tempranillo.
We enter the bodega where the French oak barrels repose in a sepulchral silence. They have a total capacity of 960 m2 in which to store up to 2,500 barrels distributed over three levels which makes it easier to carry out transfers and to work whilst the wine is ageing. The barrel building is air conditioned to maintain a constant temperature and a constant relative humidity throughout the year, thus ensuring the proper development of the wines. They give us the opportunity to taste the wines which are in the process of creation. Something else which is not very usual, given that most creators, possessive of their work are not usually as generous as was Ricardo in this case. We taste a press wine, used by the oenologist to combine with other fermentations and new, unfinished wines, directly from the cask, an experience which if one has never had the opportunity is truly fascinating. In this case we are able to taste a 2013 Merlot extracted from the barrel especially for us. I would also strongly recommend that you visit the barrel room, which is truly beautiful.
As usual, we have to hurry because we’re running out of time. Now we have to go to the tasting room to do a vertical tasting. This is when the wines tasted are the same but of different vintages. Something difficult to do if you are not at the winery. It is not usual to keep bottles of the same wine but different vintages to observe their evolution and it’s practically impossible to find them in wine shops because they run down the stock of each vintage before starting to sell the next.
These are the wines that we tasted:
VT Tempranillo 2011
VT Tempranillo 2010
VT Vendimia Seleccionada 2010.
VT Vendimia seleccionada 2006
VT Tempranillo 2006
VT Vendimia Seleccionada 2004
In my opinion, I’m going with the VT Vendimia Seleccionada 2004. A red wine of the DO Ribera del Duero Valtravieso Winery which is made with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon of 2004 and has an alcohol content 14.50º. To accompany VT Vendimia Seleccionada 2004 we recommend pairing it with grilled meats, legume dishes and chocolate desserts. A real gem!
And the most interesting point; the value for money is excellent. You can find a Crianza from around 9,00€.- up to a Reserva for less than 35,00€.-
But now for the best… we end the day seated around a full Castilian table, with its garlic soups, its baby lamb and a chocolate dessert of which, not having a sweet tooth, I ate every single bit. It goes without saying that we accompanied the meal with some of the magnificent wines that we had tasted.
To sum up it was a fabulous day where we learned a lot and furthermore I made some new friends.
Here I leave you with the contact details of the winery, it’s worth a look if only for the photos:
Finca “La Revilla”, s/n Pinel de Arriba.
(+34) 983 484 030