CH I / THE WINES
Ribera del duero / tempranillo / 2020
Duero, wines for eternity
The Bowels of Fuentecén
Rippa Dorii Geografías Salomón is a project that goes to the soul of the Ontañón Family in the Ribera del Duero. Salomón is a unique vineyard, lashed by the years, survivor of harsh winters and arid summers in which it extracts the legendary finesse of the Ribera tempranillo. Old bushes in new glasses. Elegance which is sustained in time in devotion to a remote tradition of men. Skies and a river, the Duero, which marks the beat of the seasons and the rhythm of wines with a vocation to last for eternity.
The Burgos bank, on which the town of Fuentecén rises, and our tiny vineyard of old vines called Salomón, represents the first great vineyard of the Duero basin and is located in the huge opening made by the river itself and its tributaries. Fuentecén is bathed by the Riaza, which flows into the Duero in nearby Roa after rising in Fuente del Cancho, in the Segovian beech wood of Pedrosa. And the Riaza provides a particular microclimate to the plots of Fuentecén which soften the effects of the harshest winter and freshens up the intensity of the short but dramatically hot summers.
The chalky plateaus which shape the heaths rise to a height of 900 metres and surround the banks of this tributary of the Duero, which open a ridge with areas of scrub, holm oaks and even pine trees. At the foot of the carved embankments, in loams with a lot of gypsum, there are privileged soils for vine growing. «We go from clay to sand, to badly consolidated sandstone and locally to firmer conglomerates», as Professor Huetz de Lemps points out.
Our old Fuentecén vineyard occupies clay- sand and banks of shingle, the cereal crops are found in clay soils and the frequent pine groves, like the one which surrounds our town’s wine cellar district – a hidden gem from the 18th century – disappear in sandy soils.
vineyard of Fuentecén
To make the first wine in the GEOGRAFÍAS collection from RIPPA DORII we need to be absolutely true to the history of the Ribera, to the tradition of Fuentecén and the spirit of searching of our philosophy as a bodega. From our vineyard heritage we chose Salomón, a unique and extraordinary hawthorn from the Ribera del Duero which expresses the essence of this zone with millimetrical faithfulness: abundant colour, the true fruit of the Burgos Ribera and its silky, polished tannins. An amazing fragrance, a certainty of a wine which has been made with a vocation for lasting through time.
Leticia Pérez Cuevas, RIPPA DORII grape grower, tells us that the variety is tempranillo or tinta del país and that the age of the Salomón vines is over forty years. Previous vineyards in these areas were planted with a mixture of varieties, especially white grapes, to make the traditional clarete Ribera wine, so loved by the people of the zone.
Salomón occupies less than four hectares and the vines are grafted with the best tinto fino from the zone. With goblet pruning and the unirrigated Marco Real planting pattern it offers a yield which never surpasses 4,500 kilos per hectare. And if the landscape speaks to us of a plot which stretches over gentle slopes with exceptional natural drainage and at altitudes of over 820 metres above sea level, the soil offers us various and very varied profiles which give the wine character and complexity: it has strata of chalk and stones as well as the original white clay produced by the erosion by the Riaza.
«The soil brings everything for achieving this wine, its character. The chalky soil predominates which means yields are not very high and the grapes ripen slowly due to the surface layer of stones to make it permeable while at the same time releasing heat at night so that ripening is slow and continuous».
An excellent harvest
Hydrologically it was a very poor, lean year but for the vines it rained just when it needed to. Hence there was no pressure from pests or diseases. The summer was very hot, with a succession of heatwaves, but with the chalky soil and the influence of the Riaza, perfect phenolic maturation was achieved. The Control Board of the DO Ribera del Duero classified the harvest as excellent
Careful manual harvesting with crates
Picking is by hand and is performed with care using small crates. We make the first selection on the vine. Before the harvest those clusters which do not meet the perfect conditions of health and maturity are rejected.
The winemaker at Rippa Dorii, Ruben Pérez Cuevas, explains it in this way:
«We began cutting the grapes at dawn on the fifth of October and the work finished before one o´clock midday so that the grapes would not be arriving at the winery at an unsuitable temperature for making a wine in which we take special care at every step».
Natural pumping over
We make the wine from this plot with a technique with which we get the cap to be always soaked in must, like that old cake in the historic processes in the presses, with no mechanical procedures, natural pumping over and the fermentation temperature carefully controlled and much more even. This is all achieved by making use of the carbonic gas produced by the fermentation in the vinification process.
We chill the grapes down to 8-10 degrees so that the maceration is very subtle enabling all the colour and aroma compounds to become fixed. After four days we seed the must with indigenous yeasts from the vineyard itself to start up the first fermentation.
Fermentation continued for 19 days with daily gentle natural pressing until ready for devatting. The natural pressure of the cap itself achieves a very delicate, fragile extraction which has the virtue of obtaining very faint, beautiful aromas
The malolactic fermentation took place in new Iberian-oak casks (Spanish oak, Quercus pyrenaica or Pyrenean oak), with stirring twice per week. At the end, ageing was for eleven months in these same casks, where the tannins have been reaffirmed with greater length and depth.
The Pyrenean oak wood (Quercus pyrenaica), the most abundant oak in Spain, has a very similar oenological quality to that brought by wine barrels made of American or French oak, according to a study conducted by scientists at the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA) and the Instituto Tecnológico Agrario de Castilla y León (ITACyL). In fact, Pyrenean oak wood has the ideal structural properties (type of grain, porosity and permeability) for use in making wine casks. Moreover, its chemical characteristics (amount of polyphenols, tannins and volatile aromatic compounds) are very similar to those found in other types of oak with recognised oenological quality, such as the Quercus petraea species from France and the USA
Rubén Pérez Cuevas explains it thus in the case of Salomón:
«We have detected that the micro-oxygenisation from Iberian oak is less and the wine needs more time to be able to polymerise the tannin and anthocyanins. But by taking longer the wine also has a longer life and is longer and deeper».
11 months in the cask /
100% iberian oak /
A lot of very ripe, black fruit on the nose, black olives, very subtle, well-integrated wood, tobacco leaf, wild berries and very subtle spice from the oak. Complex and inviting, with hints of balsamic herbs, mineral nuances, blackcurrant and spices coming through.