Bodegas Fernandez Rivera

Alejandro Fernández and his wife Esperanza Rivera, having created Tinto Pesquera and Condado de Haza in their native Ribera del Duero, looked farther afield in the Spring of 1998. Offered the opportunity to acquire one of Spain's grandest agricultural estates, they purchased the rundown estate bordering the Guareña River in the province of Zamora, in the heart of one of Spain's earliest-recognized wine regions. Known during the entire 20th-century as "La Granja Valdeguareña de los Moleros" the 1800-acre ranch had been devoted to the breeding of highly regarded fighting bulls, still in operation at the time of purchase. From the 18th through 19th centuries the estate had been a regionally-dominant producer of wine, evidenced by 40,000 square feet of cellars hand-carved by 125 laborers over 17 years. During that time the local wine producing area was known throughout Spain and Europe as Tierra del Vino (Land of Wine). House and ranch compound were renovated and a modern winemaking facility installed, directly over the 17th-century cellars. Alejandro rapidly set to work reconverting the estate to wine production, with 325 acres of old-clone Tempranillo from his vineyards in Ribera del Duero planted by late 2000. As with Fernández wines in Ribera del Duero, the fully-extracted must undergoes malolactic fermentation in new oak, and a meticulous racking and aging program achieves natural clarification. The wines are bottled after two years in the barrel.
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