Notable wines from the Duero Valley
The power of tradition
At barely 20 years old, Bodegas Valderiz is still a fledgling operation in a country where wine has been produced for 4 centuries. But don’t be fooled by its young age—the Estebans are one of the oldest winemaking families in Roa and many of their vines have produced 80 harvests!
A brief history of Spanish wines
Spanish wines were slow to make their way into the fine wine category. For a long time, they were thought to be unrefined; good enough for an everyday meal but not suitable for much else. As ambitious winemakers adopted new technology, however, several Spanish wines saw their quality and authenticity increase substantially. It always boils down to the same truth: good wine starts with good vines.
For the Esteban family, authenticity is a fundamental value. The father-and-son growers introduced organic techniques at least 10 years before their peers in the Duero Valley even considered it. Did adopting this green approach mean shunning technology? Not at all. But their guiding principle was that any technology should interfere with the grapes’ characteristics as little as possible. Today, the estate’s wines offer outstanding value among products bearing the Ribera del Duero appellation, which is the most well-known in the country and the source of several Grand Crus.
The many faces of Tempranillo
What’s the right term, Tempranillo or Tinta del País? Is it an indigenous or imported variety? There are no wrong answers! First, the origins: People say it is purely Spanish, but there is also a legend that says a Cistercian monk from Cluny travelling on the Camino de Santiago dropped one of these vines from his bag. As for the name, there are more than just two stories. Tempranillo is a prince that goes by many names, depending on where you are in Spain (where it is also called Tinto Fino, Tinto de Toro and even Ull de Llebre), or Portugal (Aragonez, Tinta Roriz) or California (Valdepenas). One thing is certain: this tannin-rich variety has low acidity and produces light wines with excellent ageing potential.
Albillo, the silent partner
Tempranillo accounts for 95% of the grapes grown in the vineyard, leaving 5% for Albillo, a white variety known for its floral and citrus aromas and the acidic touch it brings to wines. A small quantity is already being blended into the estate’s Valderiz, Juega Bolos and Tomás Esteban wines, and there are plans to expand its use to other cuvées, where it helps to set the colour of the wine.
Their most prized plot
The Bodegas Valderiz estate comprises 40 different plots. One, however, stands out: La Guindalera, home of the grapes used for the Tomás Esteban vintage. This wine is known for its unique character, depth and mineral notes. It was this plot that encouraged the family to expand its vineyard.