Castilla Termal Monastery of Valbuena forms part of the unique natural enclave, where there is nothing better than enjoying the secrets of nature through our own discovery. Which can be enjoyed in the experience of wine tourism, carried out in the gold mine of the River Duero, through its vineyards and wine culture which welcomes the Designated Origin Ribera del Duero wines.
The vineyards originate from the Designated Origin Ribera del Duero, located within a stretch of the River Duero, about 115 km in length, situated at the confluence of the provinces of Soria (18 municipalities), Burgos (59 municipalities), Segovia (4 municipalities) and Valladolid (19 municipalities). Starting approximately to the East of San Esteban de Gormaz, and extending until Quintanilla de Onésimo to the west.
The combination of the characteristics of the soil and contrasting temperatures, produced by the territory climate, are determining factors in reducing production to obtain high quality limits established by the Regulatory Council.
The wines produced in the La Ribera del Duero are red and rosé with a minimum alcohol content of 11% and 11.5%. Produced with a minimum of 75% of the Tempranillo grape variety. In every case 95% of the grapes used must be Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot y Malbec. The Garnacha and Albillo grapes are permitted, but only in small quantities. To whet your appetite we will delve into the secrets, which keep the viticulture reeling off step by step in the journey of the grapes, from the moment of collection until they arrive on your table in a bottle.
The grape harvest is the crowning moment of wine production, when we collect grapes at the peak of ripeness. The collection is carried out manually, moving them into trailers either in bulk or in boxes for easy transport to the winery.
Before introducing the grapes into the winery, we must first weigh and certify the origin of the grape, which is overseen by the inspector of the Regulatory Council of the Ribera del Duero. Once complete, we begin the selection table process, where bunches in bad condition are extracted to the hopper which leads to the interior of the winery.
Now with the grapes in the winery, the first thing we do is introduce the grape into the destemmer, a machine that deseeds the grape, separating the fruit from its stem. With the now de-shelled grapes, it is only left for us to introduce them into the warehouse.
In the warehouse we use the whole grapes, which then with their own weight are automatically pressed, although, so as to not differentiate in texture, we help the pressing with regular pumping. The grapes are then extracted to the cart and returned to the warehouse, enabling us to extract the grape-juice, whilst in the upper part of the warehouse, the seed and skin forms a solid layer called hat. In this warehouse it is not only the automatic pressing which takes place, but also where the first fermentation or alcoholic fermentation is carried out through yeast and sugars. The wine acquires its degree of alcohol within very controlled temperature for approximately 15 days.
Once the alcoholic fermentation has finished, the wine is decanted into a second tank where the malolactic fermentation takes place. A bacterial fermentation, which converts the malic acid (which has an aggressive and astringent flavour) into lactic acid, this fermentation lasts around three weeks.
Meanwhile, after devatting the first tank, it is then taken to the pressing machine, and the grape peel is pressed, this is then mixed with the rest of the wine.
With the fermentation process complete, the next step is to clean and rack the barrels in order to store the wine. The wine is left to age according to time constraints, in that sense, depending on the length of time it is kept inside the barrel; it produces one type of wine or another.
Once it has passed the estimated time, the wine is then racked and transferred to the warehouse, to carry out assembly or copage (a mixture of wine from different barrels) if necessary.
With the wine aged in the barrel, we can now assemble it into bottles, where through a chain, wine is introduced by pumps into bottles and corked.
After bottling, the wine is then aged further in the bottle and rounded. Here is where all its components come into balance, making sure the wine is not too acidy, nor too tannic, or too alcoholic. By aging the wine again in the bottle we achieve stability and finish the production cycle of the wine.
As with aging in the barrel, we follow similar time constraints when rounding the wine in the bottle. The age status stipulated by the Regularly Council of the Ribera del Duero is the following:
- Young red wine. Minimum aging time in the barrel, less than 12 months. It is marketed just a few months after harvesting.
- Crianza red wine. At least 12 months in the oak barrel. It is marketed after 1st October of the second year after harvest.
- Reserve red wine. 36 months of aging between barrel and bottle, minimum of 12 months in the barrel. Marketed after 1st December of the third year after harvest.
- Grand Reserve red wine. Of exceptional quality thanks to at least 60 months of aging, 24 of which in the barrel and then 36 in the bottle. Released onto the market after 1st December of the fifth year after harvest.
With this the entire process of wine production is finished, the only job left is to label and prepare it for release onto the market and enjoy in our homes.
THE RIVER DUERO WINE ROUTE
The River Duero wine route covers a wide variety of wine cellars, where the wine and culture can be enjoyed through time on a historic, artistic and cultural tour in the River Duero. To see all the wineries which offer tours in the River Duero wine route click here.