The importance of the “vintage factor” in winemaking

The importance of the “vintage factor” in winemaking

Alexia Luca de Tena (winemaker Bodegas Viña Nora) – The vintage of a wine refers to the year of harvest of the grapes from which the wine was made. The climate throughout the vegetative cycle of the vine varies from one year to another being a determining factor in the quality obtained during the months in which the grapes ripen, so the wine can be very different from one vintage to another although the elaboration of the wine is similar. We are talking about the “Vintage Factor in a Wine”.

In addition to the influence of other factors such as the geographical location of the vineyard, the soil, the variety and the hand of man, the vintage factor plays a fundamental role in the definition of a wine.

Note that not all springs have good weather and not all summers are equally hot. This causes the vineyard to have more or less water available and more or less light and temperature from sprouting until the grapes ripen. This definitely influences the parameters that the grape will have when you harvest it, which causes the wine to have certain characteristics specific to the year of production.

Although I don’t like to generalize to talk about anything that has to do with wine, since I consider that a wine is the result of a lot of small particularities, I am going to explain to you what we are talking about starting from some concepts defined in a general way.

  • First generality:

If we talk about climate according to the geographical location where the vineyard is located we can talk about three types of climates: Oceanic or Atlantic climate, Continental climate and Mediterranean climate. The characteristics of each of them are summarized below:

  1. Atlantic climate: low temperature without large fluctuations and medium-high rainfall.
  2. Mediterranean climate: high temperature without large fluctuations and medium-low rainfall.
  3. Continental Climate: temperature with large fluctuations (a lot of difference between summer-winter and during the day and night) and medium rainfall.
  • Second generality:

When the grapes reach veraison the plant begins to synthesize sugar in the fruit and thus reach the point of ripeness. The winemaker will decide when to harvest the grapes when they reach “good” maturity, which will depend on weather conditions. Grape maturity is determined by the sugar contained in the pulp (alcoholic maturity) and the amount of polyphenols and aromatic precursors that have been synthesized in the skin and pips (phenolic maturity), which are responsible for the color, flavor and aromas in a wine as well as its structure. Ideally, grapes should be harvested with a balance between the two stages of ripening.

  • Third generality:

During the ripening period, the higher the temperature, the faster and greater the synthesis of sugars and the faster and greater the decrease in acidity. Other factors such as the thermal difference between day and night influence the point of phenolic maturity reached in the grape and of course the amount of daylight hours and water available to the plant will influence the parameters reached.

  • Fourth generality:

Those geographical areas where temperatures are higher the sugar synthesis is faster and higher and the decrease in acidity more pronounced while those where temperatures are milder tend to be wines with higher acidity and less alcoholic. In addition to temperature, in terms of climate, light and rainfall will define the maturity achieved.

In addition to the climate of the geographical area where the vineyard is located, it should be taken into account that there may be years in which we reach ripening earlier or the opposite of the previous year, depending on the weather during that year. A particularity of the characteristics of a wine is the climate throughout the year in which it was harvested, the vintage.

In Rías Baixas the climate is Atlantic. In the Condado do Tea subzone where we are located and where we have most of our vineyards, there is a continental influence because we are on the right bank of the Miño River about 80 km from the Atlantic Ocean towards the interior of Galicia. In this subzone we can suffer frosts in spring and temperatures during the day in summer are usually higher than in the rest of the Denomination of Origin and lower at night. In general terms, this means that the Albariño grown in this subzone reaches a good phenolic maturity when alcoholic maturity is reached in most of the harvests. In recent years the dry summers have been a great challenge to work the viticulture and prevent the plant from blocking and to achieve this balance between maturities.

Thus we can say that the particular climatology of the vintage influences the characteristics that will be obtained in the grapes grown:

  • Cool vintages: with a lot of rain in spring, mild temperatures in summer and abundant water, the grape does not reach maturity, neither alcoholic nor phenolic. The grape will then have the vocation to produce young and immediate wines, without the capacity to produce wines with a high alcoholic and phenolic content.
  • Hot vintages: summers where daytime temperatures reach 40 degrees for many days ripening is very fast and alcoholic maturity arrives without reaching phenolic maturity. The wines are usually easy to drink early, with lower acidity than usual, but they tend to have less aging capacity as they are usually lacking in muscle to withstand aging.
  • Balanced or historical vintages: when it rains little in spring and temperatures are between 20-25ºC and it rains occasionally in summer and the temperature during ripening is maintained at around 27-32ºC, the ripening process occurs gradually and slowly, reaching a balance between alcoholic and phenolic maturity. In this case we obtain a good alcohol-acidity balance, good structure and a complex aromatic expression.

In our area we must add that we have a factor that will determine the quality of each harvest: “the sanitary state of the grapes”. We are in an area where rainfall is above 1000 mm per year in almost all harvests. Depending on how the rainfall is distributed throughout the vintage, it will directly affect fungal diseases in the vineyard. Diseases that directly attack the grape bunch, such as downy mildew and powdery mildew, will reduce the volume to be harvested, but it is Botrytis cinerea, which causes gray rot and, if present in our vineyard, will directly determine the quality of our wines, which will be detrimental the greater the affectation of this fungus.

The new image of Álvaro Domecq wines, a tribute to the horse world

The collection is a great satisfaction for Mr. Álvaro Domecq, who sees reflected the two passions to which he has dedicated his life.

If there are two elements that characterize Jerez, they are its wines and its horses, and Bodegas Álvaro Domecq combines these two worlds in a collection of wines that presents the friendliest and closest face of the wines of Jerez without losing an iota of solvency and character.

D. Álvaro has always considered his horses as companions and accomplices of his successes and remembers them with great affection. This is the starting point of this family of wines that is almost a collection of family portraits with which he wants to remember and pay tribute to the most special horses of his career. Each label carries a custom-made illustration that represents the character of each horse and has a lot to do with the characteristics of each wine.

Puntuación Robert Parker

Wine Advocate backs Dominio de Atauta’s commitment to terroir expression in its wines.

Luis Gutiérrez, taster of Spanish wines for the prestigious American magazine, Wine Advocate, has just published a new article in which he analyzes the wines produced on the banks of the Duero, including only those from 30 wineries belonging to Ribera del Duero. In his comments on each wine, Gutiérrez highlights the winery’s commitment to reflecting the different aspects of the terroir and gives all the wines an outstanding score, with special mention to the Single Vineyards collection.

The 10 wines presented by the winery, 7 in Dominio de Atauta, and 3 belonging to its “Atalayas de Golbán” project, are above 90 points, which is an endorsement of all the winemaking lines proposed by the winery.

Dominio de Atauta 2016, with a score of 92+ is for Luis Gutiérrez a “really impressive wine that seeks freshness and to show the wonderful and unknown vineyards of the village of Atauta”. Likewise, Parada de Atauta 2016, with 91+ is for the taster “a balanced wine with good freshness which, however, does not lack power”. Gutiérrez highlights the work of the winemaker, Jaime Suárez, in these wines, whose 2016 vintage is the first one he has produced entirely after joining the winery.

The Single Vineyard collection is, once again, the most outstanding in terms of scores. The five wines, which reflect five spots with an unique personality within the Atauta Valley, have received the most outstanding comments from the taster who places Dominio de Atauta La Roza 2014 in first place, with 96 points. He describes it as the “most attractive, aromatic, floral and elegant” of all the wines in the collection. Dominio de Atauta San Juan received 95 points, which he describes as “delicious” and speaks of its “mineral elegance”.
The same grade is given to Dominio de Atauta Llanos del Almendro, which highlights its harmony and finesse. It was followed by Dominio de Atauta Valdegatiles with 94 points, “a deep wine full of nuances” and Dominio de Atauta La Mala, with 93+, where he remarks a change towards a less protagonist use of wood.

Luis Gutiérrez also rated three wines from the “Atalayas de Golbán” project in which Dominio de Atauta makes wines with a more classic Ribera del Duero style. La Celestina Crianza 2016, it has awarded 91 points and described it as a “pleasant and easy to drink” wine. The 2017 vintage of the same wine received 90 points. Finally, La Celestina Vendimia Seleccionada has obtained 91+ and highlights “its clean and modern character, with freshness and well-integrated wood”.

Dominio de Atauta is a winery located on the Soria side of Ribera del Duero, in the heart of the Atauta Valley, which is only 4 km long and 1 km wide and is a real oenological and ethnographic jewel.

Bodegas Naia presents the wine Naiades 2016

Bodegas Naia presents Náiades 2016

Bodegas Náiades boasts a new image for Náiades, a wine that represents the pinnacle of what the bodega is seeking with the Verdejo variety in the D. O. Rueda. With the arrival of the 2016 vintage, this wine renews its new image to reinforce its Premium character and transmit the elegance, subtlety and sophistication of a wine that completes Bodega Naia’s portfolio.

Náiades is the result of the most special terroirs that we have found in the D.O. Rueda. Our work consists of finding the balance among small old Verdejo vineyards of up to 120 years of age located on granite, sandy and gravelly soils. All of them combined define this wine’s identity.

It is an elegant, expressive, fresh and mineral wine with an excellent density on the palate and a genuine expression of the fruit.

Barrels of wine from the Álvaro Domecq winery - Terraselecta

Bodegas Álvaro Domecq presents 1730 Fino en Rama

Bodegas Álvaro Domecq presents 1730 Fino en Rama, a new wine that joins the 1730 VORS collection, which today includes four VORS-category wines and a Reserva Vinegar. With this inclusion, the bodega enhances the concept of this line of wines aimed at highlighting the unique nature and quality of Jerez wines in their different types.

1730 Fino en Rama, balance and roundness

1730 Fino en Rama was conceived from a careful selection of the 20 best casks of the Fino La Janda solera that were bottled following a slight filtering, and it embodies the essence of the best aspects of Fino wine that has obtained so many acknowledgements at Bodegas Álvaro Domecq SL. It has been biologically aged for 10 years, making it a wine with an excellent balance between the biting and salty style of Fino wines and the soundness and roundness of its 10 years of ageing under flor yeast.

Wine Alvaro Domecq 1730 - Terraselecta

New image for the brandies of bodegas Álvaro Domecq

Bodegas Álvaro Domecq’s brandies take their name from the Duchy of Veragua, which the Spanish crown granted to the grandson of Christopher Columbus in 1537. The title still exists today and its current heir, Cristóbal Colón de Carvajal y Gorosábel, has wanted his name to appear on the excellent Brandies made in this bodega, as a gesture of friendship to Mr Álvaro Domecq’s family. The new image that both Brandies boast reflect their history and intends to transmit the extremely high quality of these excellent products.

New image of wine viridiana - Terraselecta

Viridiana: new image for a stellar wine

Viridiana’s change of image arrives at a time in which the wine has already won the hearts and palates of a large number of people who consider it a benchmark wine.

Since Viridiana was released in the market, in its 2011 vintage, it has been presented as a Ribera del Duero oak-aged wine with an excellent value for money. It was part of the Atalayas de Golbán launch, a project developed by Bodegas Dominio de Atauta through which it make wines with the most traditional and recognisable character of Ribera del Duero type wines.

In recent years, the project has followed an upward evolution and has presented several new wines until creating a portfolio inspired by the great women of Spanish film and literature, which is completed with this new image of Viridiana.

La Celestina and Viridiana, two women, two wines

The Atalayas de Golbán portfolio pays homage to two important female characters of Spanish film and literature. La Celestina and Viridiana are two women that display great resilience and overcome enormous adversities. They are independent women with significant contradictions that, in their particular evolution, invite us to enjoy the moment.

bottles vino del cenit - Terraselecta

Viñas del Cenit opens a new era with wines that reflect the peculiarities of a terroir

After a memorable fifteen-year journey in the historic region of Tierra del Vino de Zamora, Viñas del Cenit embarks on a new era that marks a before and after with the simultaneous launch of the new vintages of two of its most emblematic wines: Cenit and Vía Cenit, and a wine that is added to the portfolio: Cenit Pago Las Salinas.

The project, which is now seeing the light, has been forged over the years following a gradual change of mentality in winemaking. Very early harvests, a high control over maturation and a winemaking process seeking a genuine expression of the terroir have been the modus operandi that has shaped the profile of this bodega’s wines, producing Cenit 2016 and Vía Cenit 2017. These two wines are entering the market with the aim of reflecting a series of vineyards that are mostly around 100 years old and plots of land that combine clay and sandy soils. Pago Las Salinas, as a peculiar expression of an extraordinary vineyard, joins these two wines.

New oenologist and product repositioning. New Prices

José Manuel Benéitez is the new oenologist that will lead the bodega’s new era after years of experience in the region, to which he has been connected both personally and professionally.

In addition, the bodega is completely renewing its image, providing it a new classic and bright look that focuses on the characteristics of each of its wines. The changes in the bodega are rounded off with a product repositioning that entails a downward pricing review of Cenit and Vía Cenit (consult the sales team for further details).

Dominio de Atauta wine collection - Terraselecta

Dominio the Atauta’s collection of terroir wines reaches the market with two new inclusions

Bodegas Dominio de Atauta completes its collection of terroir wines with two new incorporations: Dominio de Atauta La Roza and Dominio de Atauta San Juan, two wines that are produced from two vineyards doomed to disappear. Following a careful recovery plan, we have finally been able to make these two wines, which reach the market in their 2013 vintage accompanied by Dominio de Atauta La Mala 2013, Dominio de Atauta Llanos del Almendro 2013 and Dominio de Atauta Valdegatiles 2013. All these wines make up an exceptional collection that help us obtain an in-depth understanding of a valley as unique as the Atauta Valley.

Exceptional quality and a unique personality

The ‘Single Vineyards’ collection by Bodegas Dominio de Atauta is the result of all the knowledge that we have obtained throughout the years on the Atauta Valley. Understanding a valley that, only four km long (east-west) and one km wide (north-south), has such diverse soils, altitudes, depths, etc. requires working on it on a daily basis, and this has enabled us to identify up to 25 different terroirs. Experience has taught us that they are not all able to offer an exceptional quality and a unique personality. These two elements are key when it comes to making the decision of incorporating a wine to this collection.

Our overriding objective with this collection is to reflect in each wine the different personalities of each terroir the Atauta Valley has to offer.

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