Finca Villacreces Ribera del Duero 2012
Blend: 86% Tempranillo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
One of the most sought-after pieces of land in Ribera del Duero, the estate of Villacreces sits next to Vega Sicilia, perhaps (historically) the most famous property in the region. There is written evidence that the first vines were planted on the estate in the 13th Century. During the 14th Century, it was run by Saint Pedro de Villacreces and, later on, with its perfect conditions for prayer and retreat, it became a monastery. In the 20th Century, the property belonged to a wealthy aristocratic family from Valladolid, who used to spend their holidays and weekends there. In the early 1970s, 100 acres of vineyard were planted, which has now been increased to 150. Including a 200-year-old forest, the estate comprises a total of 285 acres.
In 2003, the Anton family - owners of a Rioja bodega and one of Spain’s most famous Michelin starred restaurants in the Basque country – purchased the estate and invested in revitalizing both the estate and the vineyards. The property is situated at 2,300 feet above sea level on poor soils comprised of lime, gravel, sand and quartz which naturally keep yields low (the estate averages 1.6 tons per acre). The proximity to the Duero river helps protect the vines from and reduce the effects of the frosts that are common in the Ribera del Duero.
Ribera del Duero is located in northen Spain’s Castilla y León region, just a 2-hour drive from 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.
Notable Facts Ribera’s main grape variety, Tempranillo, locally know 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, the spice, dark fruit and smoky flavors in a bold Ribera del Duero will pair well with roasted and grilled meats, Mexican food and tomato-based sauces.
Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins and a bright acidity, Tempranillo is the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions and important throughout most of Spain. Depending on location, it takes on a few synonyms; in Penedès, it is known as Ull de Llebre and in Valdepeñas, goes by Cencibel. Furthermore in Portugal, known as Tinta Roriz, it is a key component both in Port and the dry red wines of the Douro. The New World regions of California, Washington and Oregon have all had success with Tempranillo, producing a ripe, amicable and fruit-dominant style of red.
In the Glass
Tempranillo produces medium-weight reds with strawberry and black fruit characteristics and depending on yield, growing conditions and winemaking, can produce hints of spice, toast, leather, tobacco, herb or vanilla.
Tempranillo’s modest, fine-grained tannins and good acidity make it extremely food friendly. Pair these with a wide variety of Spanish-inspired dishes—especially grilled lamb chops, a rich chorizo and bean stew or paella.
The Spanish take their oak aging requirements very seriously, especially in Rioja. There, a naming system is in place to indicate how much time the wine has spent in both barrel and bottle before release. Rioja labeled Joven (a fresh and fruity style) spends a year or less in oak, whereas Gran Reserva (complex and age-worthy) must be matured for a minimum of two years in oak and three years in bottle before release. Requirements on Crianza and Reserva fall somewhere in between.