CH I / THE WINES
Rueda / verdejo / 2020
Rueda synonymous with wine ever since aniquity
In praise of finesse
Los Curas represents the Ontañón Family’s most intimate purpose in the Rueda Designation of Origin. Los Curas is an exceptional vineyard, historic, once belonging to the Archpriesthood of Medina, and which like few others, represents the superb distinction of the purest and most profound verdejo thanks to the complexity of a soil made up of smooth stones sustained in chalky sandbanks from the Quaternary era. Los Curas delicately combines an extreme climate and a variety to outline a surprising reminder of this emblematic spot.
A carpet of smooth stones
Our vineyard known as Los Curas sits in a privileged space. At the centre of gravity of the historic white wines of Castile on an amazingly strange and heterogeneous soil located on a diluvial and alluvial terrace, formed by two edaphological units that correspond to the quaternary sandbanks and to different layers of sandstone. A soil which is very poor in organic matter, rich in calcium and magnesium; a true carpet of smooth stones that make drainage possible. At the bottom substrates of whitish-coloured sand appear due to the almost total absence of clay and iron oxide
Los curas is a delicate, fragile saline wine
The most authentic temperament of the verdejo in its most emblematic place which helps to endow the wine with perfect acidity and the noble unctuosity which then on the palate evokes the unique profile of a land, its distinctive acidity, even the oiliness and tears which showcase its structure as a wine for laying down.
These white lands of Castile have been transported to the popular soul in such a way that the popular fame of the inhabitants of Rueda is that of lime traders, due to the lime in this town, founded in Roman times around 380-420, and where from time immemorial is rooted a wise, honest viticulture.
of the district
Los Curas sits on a very gentle slope and is near Rueda, at an altitude of 750 metres, with the nearby murmur of the gentle flow of the river Zapardiel, a tributary of the Duero which is cited by Cervantes in his Journey to Parnassus as being famous for its fishing.
Los Curas shapes a classic scarp of a quaternary terrace formed by the patient erosion over the years by the Duero and ends up in a pine grove of great biological value which has always been known as La Nava, the cork tree forest of Foncastín and its dense reed beds.
This zone is rich in birdlife, such as the bustard, which sometimes walks clumsily between the rows of our vineyard watching the elegant flight of the red kite or the scattering larks which take refuge there in the freezing winters.
Los Curas is a wine which carves a territory. The spot defines the character of the wine. Short, very hot summers. Long, dry winters, little and uneven rainfall. And when it rains, as happens in these high lands of the interior of the plateau, it does so in at specific times: from April to May and from October to November. And only six months free of frosts.
Really, really harsh conditions, in which only a variety like verdejo is able to offer unique levels of quality. Its origin is uncertain. Some say it came from a hybridisation of a variety from the region of Algaida in North Africa – perhaps brought to castile before it was castile by the Moors – with indigenous plant material from the Duero valley at the time of the expansion of vine planting promoted by the Cantabrians and the Castilians.
The plenary session of the Control Board of the DO Rueda classified the 2020 harvest as EXCELLENT, the third vintage in history to receive this rating which backs up its great quality. The previous years were those of the 2011 and 2017 harvests. It was a rainier cycle than in recent years, which led to some attacks of mildew. But far from being a problem, these circumstances gave rise to wines with more character and greater complexity than in previous seasons.
Dense, potent palate
And what makes the verdejo from Los Curas special?
Many details make it stand out: its finesse, its elegant mouth feel, which fills and envelopes it. And its persistence, its length, its aromatic capacity, which very often is regarded as essential, which it is, but which is in no way the only thing. The key to verdejo is that it offers two wonderful sensations: its structure, with a special, dense, potent palate….
And then the exciting bitter touch in the finish which makes it unforgettable. This is a historic grape for this zone whose presence dates back several centuries and which has managed to identify itself with our soils, our geography and a very harsh climate.
How it´s made
The process starts with the harvest. By night. To take advantage of the coolness of darkness and for the grapes to reach the winery in perfect condition. Los Curas is less than five kilometres from the RIPPA DORII winery and this makes the job much easier. The grapes reach the winery cool but it is important to help by cooling them down a few more degrees. In this way, the extraction in the press is as rich as possible and the greatest quantity of aromas are transferred to the must.
Natural débourbage and fermentation
By keeping the must at temperatures of below 14-16 degrees, fermentation does not start and therefore the fining and stabilisation can be achieved by running off the must. That is, natural débourbage which takes absolutely nothing away from the rich, complex character of the wine. In this way, we ensure the fermentation is as clean and natural as possible, with no contamination by unwanted aromas, smooth and with no temperature spikes which would affect the elegance and finesse of Los Curas so as to be as faithful as possible to the texture of the soil of such a blessed spot. Maceration continues for over twelve hours. Part of the wine ferments with the fine lees in stainless steel vats and the rest in French-oak casks, in both cases for six months. The final coupage of Los Curas starts from a blend of the two wines, with 80% from the vat-fermented wine and 20% from cask-fermented wine.
80 % Stainless steel tank/
A very bright, greenish-yellow colour with golden glints.
Very inviting on the nose with complex aromas of aniseed and fennel over a creamy base which shapes the overall impression. Reminders of lemon fruit gums, slight honeyed notes of orange blossom and purple hearts sweets. Tropical fruit such as passion fruit coming through. An endless palette of aromas.
13,5 % Alc. by Vol.