2019 #RiberaDelDuero | Finca Villacreces winery
One of the great bodegas visited during my winetrip to Ribera Del Duero was Finca Villacreces, which belongs to Grupo Artevino holding several wineries in different regions of Spain like Rioja, Rueda, Toro and Ribera Del Duero. The estate is great looking, has interesting history and produces very good wines, highly recommend to visit it when you are in the zone.
Finca Villacreces is the closest neigbour of super famous Vega Sicilia. In fact, their vineyards planted just next each other. Vines you see on the pic below behind the billboard with Finca Villacreces direction are the vineyards of Vega Sicilia (teeny tiny stoned white gate on the background is the gate to villa of Vega Sicilia).
Actually these #vineyards are some of the most spectacular ones of the Ribera del Duero. The environment in the territory of Finca Villcareces is really unique. The estate situated on the plain along Duero river and surrounded by amazing ancient pine forest.
The bodega is situated at 700 metres above sea-level and the climate here is made of extremes, with huge temperature swings, long winters and dry summers with low rainfall. However, these beautiful pine trees help to keep certain micro-climate, protect the estate from the worst weather conditions and create special ecosystem in the zone. They bring more oxygen and creates a natural barrier, protecting vines from winds and cool air.
The landscape is fully green and so is even the parking slot.
Got used to regular parking slots on grey asphalt areas, I was nicely surprised seeing "parking slot" plate just right on the green grass, under the shadows of those century-old pine trees.
The founder of this Duero estate was the Franciscan monk Pedro de Villacreces, together with a group of other clerics he established a monastery with a little vineyard nearby in this awesome area as a place to pray and grow crops.
For a long time Villacreces was a place of Franciscan monks where they meditated, worked the land and contemplated nature.
In 1836 the land passed into private hands of the Marquis Teodosio Alonso-Pesquera, afterwards the king granted the Marquis water rights to the Duero River.
The second Marquis sold the estate to the Cuadrado family at the beginning of the 20th century. They used it as a summer home, visited also by many famous guests, including Peter Sisseck, who used the bodega and vineyard to make his famous Flor de Pingus.
In 2004 Gonzalo and Lalo Antón, owners of Izadi bodega in Rioja and Vetus estate in Toro, bought Finca Villacreces from Cuadrado family. Finally #bodega was rebuilt and relaunched in 2007.
The zone covers in total 110 hectares, where 64 of them under vines, standing in the heart of the Ribera del Duero’s “Golden Mile”.
Vineyards' territory is split into 15 separate plots of #Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Two plots are planted closer to the entrance from the main road and so called "'experimental", being used for real experiments with grape varieties by the winemaker & viticulture team of the bodega. Who knows maybe in future we'll see some new wines of Finca Villareces, crafted from those experimental parcels.
The estate benefits from the wide variety of soils like sandy, on the side of pine forests, or alluvial and stony with pebbles deposited by the river Duero.
The bodega stands in the heart of the estate, designed to support the environment with attention to important winemaking process' details.
This very old olive tree situated in the courtyard right in the center between winery buildings. It was carefully kept during modern re-construction of the bodega. I asked how old is it, but nobody knows, "it was always there"... presumably more than hundred years old.
The estate produces short line up of three wines Pruno, Finca Villacreces and Nebro with focus on high quality and personality of those. Each vineyard plot being vinified separately, fermentation being done in different types of vessels, depending on the grape variety and wine style.
Usually for Pruno, basic youngest wine, grapes are vinified in big stainless steel vats with automatic double pumping-over systems.
Finca Villacreces wine, the emblematic blend of the estate, is vinified in small wooden vats equipped with temperature control system.
Some bunches of the grapes for Finca Villacrese being vinified in these modern #cement tanks with thick walls.
Vinification of Nebro, limited edition wine of the estate crafted from old vines with extremely low yield, is handled in these two very special cement tanks dedicated only to Nebro (N logo). They been designed and produced especially for Finca Villcareces with this unique shape, actually never seen such curvy cement tanks before.
Ageing takes place in a separate quiet cool area.
French oak barrels are used for maturation with different periods used for Pruno, Villacreces and Nebro wines.
Lights are normally off, to keep it dark, just a natural small yellow lamps being switch on for guests and winery staff.
A separate small room contains special ageing barrels with Nebro and some of those "experimental" plots' wines.
Actually there is a tiny beautiful chapel in the complex of bodega, reconstructed from the times when monks managed the winery, but I didn't make pics of it, shame on me. Once you're there, don't forget to see it.
There is also a small kind of museum, where they keep some old wines historically produced in the estate by Cuadrado family before it was sold to current owners.
Newly made showroom and shop offers whole range of Finca Villcreces wines.
You can find here also olive oil "Pruno" produced by estate, sourcing olives from own trees planted on the territory and in surroundings.
Wines crafted in other estates of the holding also can be found here, like Flor de Vetus of Rueda DO, very nice Verdejo by the way.
Tasting room is small but very comfortable.
I was tasting two wines of the estate Pruno and Finca Villacreces.
Grapes: Tempranillo 90%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%
Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel about, each parcel separately, malolactic in stainless steel
Ageing: 3 years in oak
Nose: raspberry, red cherry, white pepper, toffee
Palate: young, fruity, fresh
Basic wine of the estate, produced in large quantities like 600 K bottles annually. Fresh and very fruitforward. Presence of Cabernet Sauvignon gives it more tannins and structure. Tannins are soften by ageing, hints of toffee and vanilla from oak barrels offers nice aftertaste. Good for everyday drinking, pleases with a bit of sweetness on the palate, will go along well with meat and poultry dishes.
Grapes: Tempranillo 86%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%, Merlot 4%
Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel about, each parcel separately, malolactic in oak
Ageing: 14 months in new oak
Nose: blueberry, blackberry jam, liquorice, coffee
Palate: rich texture, full body, spicy
Powerful wine of super dark purple color. It has very rich plush texture and mature tannins. Complex bouquet, full of black berries, liquorice, hints of spice, smoke and freshly grinded coffee. Like in Pruno, Cabernet Sauvignon here enriches Tempranillo with more color, structure and tannins, while a dash of Merlot in the blend makes it more rounded, bringing that velvety plush texture. Quantities produced are ten times less than Pruno, so it can be not that easy to find around. Very good wine, full of flavours and well balanced. If you can find it in your region, don't miss it.