THE HARVEST BEHIND THE WINE (I)

Pago del Cielo (DO Ribera del Duero), La Carbonera (DOC Rioja), Pazo Torre Penelas (DO Rías Baixas), and Bodega Magarín (DO Rueda)

As we settle into 2020, the first wines from last year's harvest tell us about the conditions and circumstances experienced at our estates and vineyards in 2019. It was a good year, with the promise of wines that express a close-to-excellent vintage: the harvest behind the wine.



 

Pago del Cielo (DO Ribera del Duero)

Forty-five hectares of Tinto Fino growing at almost 900 meters above sea level in Fompedraza, near Peñafiel (Valladolid), where the vines seem to reach for the sky and touch the stars.

 

Vineyards in Fompedraza (DO Ribera del Duero), a Familia Torres property

 


 

Winemaker Juan Ramón García has helmed the Pago del Cielo winery since it opened in 2005 and is responsible for making Celeste.

 

 

 

The 2019 harvest in Ribera del Duero was marked by drought, with very little rainfall throughout the growth season compared to a normal year in the region. “That being said, the rain in September meant we could stick to our scheduled start date for the harvest,” Juan Ramón remarks, “This resulted in lower-than-expected yields for the entire appellation of origin, but in our case, we managed to compensate for this decrease, because our winegrowing team did incredible work in selecting grapes from quality parcels, so in the end we actually harvested 20% more than the previous year.” In terms of quality, we can describe the 2019 harvest as having “optimal ripeness and great balance.” At this early stage, the Tinta del País (Tempranillo) wines of the 2019 vintage are already showing an aromatic intensity “far superior to that of other vintages, as well as round tannins, which is unusual at this point in the wine's evolution.” 

 

 

Celeste Reserva 2015 (Familia Torres) paired with Ibérico pork ribs at El Celleret Garden Restaurant

 



 

Intense, elegant, balanced, round, flavorful. The 2019 Ribera del Duero wines promise to be a real pleasure.

 

 

La Carbonera (DOC Rioja) 

 

With the vineyards and wines of La Carbonera, Familia Torres has cemented its commitment to Rioja Alavesa, specifically Labastida. The emphasis is on making unique wines that express their origins and typicity; a bottled interpretation of the landscape of this historic region. Familia Torres has made wines in Rioja since 2006, but this clearly represents a new chapter, informed by the knowledge acquired over the years with regard to the different terroirs and superior parcels.  

 


 

The debut wine from La Carbonera, helmed by winemaker Julio Carreter, is Las Pisadas. The winery's vineyard stretches across 20 hectares endowed with a distinctive identity and classified as a Viñedo Singular (the Rioja equivalent of a single vineyard designation).

 

 

Vineyards in Labastida (DOC Rioja), a Familia Torres property

 


 

In DOC Rioja, the 2019 harvest began two weeks earlier than normal. “The lack of precipitation was the dominant factor throughout the growth season, although toward the end of this period there was some rainfall, which had a very positive effect on the harvest,” Julio explains, “The grapes were in excellent health throughout the season.”

 


 

The profile of the 2019 vintage is honest and clean on the nose; with deep fruit concentration; clean, balanced, and nicely concentrated, with elegant tannins and a very good future. 

 

 

Las Pisadas 2015 paired with charcoal-grilled Ibérico pork shoulder flank steak at El Celleret Garden Restaurant

 


 

Drought was the common denominator of this vintage, which in terms of quality can be described as excellent thanks to the effort and expertise of our team.

 



 

Pazo Torre Penelas (DO Rías Baixas)

Winemaker Víctor Cortizo explains the challenges and the work that was required to save a harvest that ultimately resulted in healthy grapes. 


 

“In Rías Baixas, the 2019 harvest was the most complicated in recent years. First, we had a very dry August, and the first ten days of September saw temperatures between 30 and 35 degrees, which meant that the grapes ripened faster due to dehydration. Then, in the fall, torrential rains and strong winds made it difficult for the grapes to develop normally. The cumulative effect of these circumstances was a small harvest in the Rías Baixas appellation, with a decrease of about 20% compared to the previous year. In our six-hectare vineyard, the decrease in crop production was even more severe, about 25% lower than in 2018.”

 

 

Pazo Torre Penelas (DO Rías Baixas) overlooks a walled six-hectare vineyard planted with 12 to 35 year-old Albariño. The small winery is equipped with innovative, egg-shaped vats made from Galician granite to vinify and age the wines. 



 

“On the nose, the wines reveal floral and fruit nuances that are characteristic of the Albariño variety. The palate has good length thanks to the vintage's impressive acidity. An excellent balance between fresh acidity and silky volume. The wines made in Galician granite have a stronger terroir expression, with a briny, mineral quality that conveys a great sensation of volume on the palate. The egg shape of the vats keeps the wine moving due to inertia, which means the lees stay suspended and this, in turn, allows more of the fruit aromas to develop and gain intensity.”

 

Víctor Cortizo

Winemaker and head of the Pazo Torre Penelas winery (DO. Rías Baixas)

 

 

Pazo das Bruxas paired with Amélie oysters at La Vinoteca Torres (Barcelona)

 


 

Bodega Magarín (DO Rueda)

When it comes to lower yields, the region's harvest shares certain similarities with other areas across Spain due to little rainfall and warm nights throughout much of the summer.  In all other respects, the harvest was largely uneventful and transpired with absolute normalcy. 

 

 

Located in the municipal area of Villafranca de Duero, Bodega Magarín produces Camino de Magarín and Verdeo, our 100% Verdejo varietals

 


 

“In 2019, our vineyards were exceptionally healthy and produced small grapes of remarkable aromatic intensity. Although yields were slightly lower than expected, the grapes reached optimal ripeness, and 2019 can be described as a great vintage.

 


 

We're seeing wines that display exceptional aromatic intensity and a nicely structured palate with a very long, fresh finish. We're predicting that this vintage will result in great wines.”

 

Juan Ramón García

Winemaker and head of the Bodega Magarín winery (DO Rueda)


 

Camino de Magarín finds its match: smoked octopus with huacatay sauce and anticuchera-style potatoes at La Vinoteca Torres (Barcelona)

 

 

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