"Condado de Haza is another Alejandro Fernandez (of Pesquera fame) property also located in Ribera del Duero. Like all of his estates, the wines are produced from 100% Tempranillo. The first vintage here was in 1993. The brilliant 2004 Condado de Haza received malolactic fermentation in barrel followed by 15 months in American oak. Purple-colored, it offers up fragrant aromas of cedar, tobacco, black currants and blackberry. There is a supple mouth-feel and generous cherry and black fruit flavors and enough ripe tannins to ensure good longevity. Drink this hedonistic effort now and over the next 10-12 years."
Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
Condado de Haza Winery
In 1972, Alejandro Fernández and his wife Esperanza Rivera of Pesquera de Duero initiated the renaissance of Spain's Ribera del Duero appellation with the area's first modern wire-trained vineyard, their Viña Alta in Pesquera. In the mid-1980s as Tinto Pesquera was assuming its place among the most intriguing and powerful icons in the world of wine, Alejandro spied a neglected slope along the Duero River which had the appearance of being the most ideal vineyard site in the region, perhaps in all Spain: One full kilometer of southfacing mountain slope leading right to the river's edge. Ideal soils in the full range preferred by the Tempranillo variety, from gravel to clay with a chalky base, suggested the potential for a multitude of styles from this difficult grape, essential for creating the desired complexity and balance.
Abandoned for years, the slope consisted of hundreds of small parcels with separate and stubborn ownership. Three years of continuous negotiation beginning in late 1986 resulted in the first planting of just over 100 acres in 1989. Today the contiguous estate includes over 500 acres of prime Tempranillo vines. Encompassed within the historic county of the hilltop village Haza high above the opposite bank of the Duero, the estate was christened Condado de Haza.
Condado de Haza reflects the bold and brilliant winemaking style of Alejandro Fernández, unrivaled master of Spain's Tempranillo variety. Bottled after malolactic fermentation and 15 months in American oak, like Tinto Pesquera it can be enjoyed early yet will reward patient cellaring.
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Ribera del Duero is located in Spain's Castilla y León region, just a 2-hour drive north of Madrid. While winemaking in this area goes back more than 2000 years, it was in the 1980s that 9 wineries applied for and were granted Denominación de Origen (D.O.) status. Today, more than 300 wineries call Ribera del Duero home, including some of Spain's most iconic names.
Ribera’s main grape variety, Tempranillo, locally known as Tinto Fino, is perfectly suited to the extreme climate of the region, where it must survive scorching summers and frigid winters. Low yields resulting from conscientious tending to old vines planted in Ribera's diverse soils types, give Ribera wines a distinctive depth and complexity not found in other Tempranillos. Rich and full-bodied, Ribera del Duero wines pair well with roast meats and aged cheeses.
The third largest country in production, Spain ranks first in land under vine. Diversity and innovation are the key factors bringing Spain back into the world wine market.
The most popular red varieties of Spain include Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache). Whites don't garner quite as much recognition, but there are some regional varieties not to be missed, like Albarino and Verdejo. The popular red regions of Spain include Rioja, known for its outstanding wines of the Tempranillo grape; Ribera del Duero, producing high quality reds from Tempranillo and Garnacha; Galacia, with the sub-region of Rias Baixas, home to the deliciously crisp and floral Albarino grape; and Priorat, a region increasing in popularity with its high-quality cult reds. Other regions of note are Rueda, growing the Verdejo grape, La Mancha, a wide desert region, covered in the most planted white variety in the world, Airen, and Jumilla, making wines based on Monastrell (Mourvedre).
Spain's wine laws are based on the Denominacion de Origen (DO) classification system, devised in the 1930's. A four tiered system, the most basic level is Vina de Mesa (table wine) followed by Vino de la Tierra (country wine), DO and at the top DOC. Currently, only Rioja and Priorat have DOC status, while over 65 DO's scatter the country.
Most DO regions are classified and regulated by how long they age the wines. On a red wine label, one may find the terms Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, denoting the wine's barrel and bottle time. Crianza is usually two years between barrel and bottle (the time in each depends on the DO and/or the winemaker), Reserva up to 4 years and Gran Reserva 5 – 6 years. Classifications of each region and wine are controlled by the region's Consejo Regulador.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.