Valtravieso, the highest winery on Ribera del Duero’s ancient Castilian plateau, has garnered high praise since its first release in 1994. Since then, it the wine has only gotten better. This is a winery making special wines from exceptional estate vineyards some 920 metres above sea level. Located in the middle of a barren plain in the upper reaches of Valladolid, vines cover some 73 hectares divided between four parcels according to soil type.
The advantages of these high vineyards are considerable. For those who favour freshness and elegance in wine, vineyards at high altitude deliver bright acidity and aromatics in spades. The unique link between character and the environment has always been a strong point of the Ribera del Duero DO; the landscape is harsh and unpredictable, but produces wines with personality. Cold nights and hot days accentuate fresh fruit and structure, and while the nutrient-poor calcareous soil is poorly-suited to most crops, it is well-suited to vines, imparting a bass-line of minerality.
For the most part, the winery works with Tinta Fina (also known as Tempranillo or Tinta del País – “country red”), Ribera del Duero’s native grape par excellence. Plots are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot too. Always tinkering, Valtravieso’s young winemaker, Ricardo Velasco, is experimenting with the rewards of concrete egg fermentation. Natural treatments are applied in the vineyard, and vines are tended by hand.