Winter at Ribera del Duero didn’t go beyond the usual, with the coldest temperatures concentrating in the month of January. Later, for the end of the winter and almost all spring, the temperatures were higher than usual, which led to an advance of 5 days in the bud-burst, despite the temperatures of the month of April, which were lower than normal. The most important characteristic of this campaign was the frost registered on the night of the 27th to the 28th April, because of a mass of cold air. That meant more than seven hours below zero that affected the most part of the vine cultivation at the Designation of Origin. That’s why, many affected buds sprouted again. However, the affected buds, spurs and cordons did not fully recover, which meant, in addition to an important decrease on production, some loss of the vegetative cycle. During May, despite the drought of the winter, there were enough rains that were able to accelerate again the vine cycle, increasing that advance until the harvest, about 10 days from the usual dates. The other climatological characteristic that marked the harvest was the drought, since approximately 250 mm of rain fell during the cycle, when the expected are 450 mm. A normal level of rain was registered on November, February, May and July. The drought was significant during the most part of the autumn and winter. Although these characteristics have not, in general, caused the plants to show visible symptoms (mainly premature ageing of the basal leaves) as a result of the unusual rains, it is true that the water stress has increased along the cycle, until it was noted a difficulty on the ripening of some lands at the end of the cycle as a consequence of the drought. This led to grapes with a smaller size and weight than those normal of the area, especially in the Tempranillo variety. Due to these determinants, the harvest finished with a scarce production, which is situated, in round figures, in little more than 55 million kilograms of grapes. In terms of production per hectare, this campaign has obtained 2,450 kg/ha on average, which means only a 60% of the average production of the last decade and a 41% as compared to the last harvest. The grapes, with an immaculate health, as a result of the lack of rains, have had technical characteristics that remind of the 2005 harvest, as a result of the small size of the berries.
Wines of the 2017 harvest
The first elaborations of wines reflect the potential of the grape, with a preeminent aromatic presence of fruit esters on nose. They are wines with a balanced acidity, with high quality tannin, and a good taste balance. Their purpose, even though it could be for young wines (specially with a slight step in oak barrels) will be wines with ageing potential.
Designation of Origin Ribera del Duero – VERY GOOD
After a winter during which the vines rested with mild weather and lower rainfall levels than usual, the spring arrived with a vengeance, exhibiting those extreme conditions so typical of Ribera del Duero. And even though rains were abundant on this period, the low temperatures delay the bud burst more than usual. So, the cycle already started with a certain delay for the very beginning, which was regulated thorough the end spring and the start of summer. It was very pronounced at the moment of ripening. Summer was marked by the high temperatures registered on the month of July as well as August and September. This, coupled with very little rain, particularly in late summer, induced stomatal closure in the leaves, a reaction that prevents excessive dehydration. This meant a marked delay in ripening, particularly in the case of young plants and those located in more arid locations.
The ripening, especially for those old vineyards with deeper roots, started in the usual dates. For other vineyards, it was necessary to wait a bit more for the ripening, as a result of a generous production, showing clusters with medium size berries and a larger number of grapes per cluster. However, the excellent weather conditions on September and October, along with the flawless health of the vines, allowed the viticulturists to wait for the correct ripening of the grapes in order to start harvesting at the right moment. This required a very studied harvest for each land, a harvest that has lasted longer than usual.
The 2016 Harvest reminds us of those of the first 90s, which produced age-worthy wines and young, fresh and fruity wines.
The 2015 vintage is marked by a hot and dry summer with a tendency to quick maturation and low production compared to the average of previous years.
The winter passed with normal reserves of water in the subsoil. The drought was intense in spring, with abundant rains during the flowering period (mid-June).
The summer has been normal, with some occasional and mild storms.
The autumn has been very dry. In mid-September, the absence of thermal variation between day and night, characteristic of the Ribera del Duero area, forced an exhaustive monitoring of the maturation parameters to make harvest decisions.
Regarding the temperatures, the months of May and July were especially warm, with the rest of the months being within the average. These abnormally high temperatures caused a significant advance in the cycle of the vine and in some areas caused vegetative stoppages.
The harvest was carried out normally, without stops and in advance with respect to the usual average. The dry environment facilitated a good health of the grape. In spite of the usual ripening differences that took place at the beginning of September due to the location of each vineyard, the good climatic conditions allowed to harvest the crop in an optimum state of maturation.
The wines of this vintage possess an impressive colouring intensity, thanks to the exceptional lighting conditions of the ripening, with very violet nuances and narrow border.
In the olfactory phase they present important fruity tones, especially in the range of black fruits, as well as some mineral and spicy tones.
On the other hand, in the gustatory phase, the wines are defined by a very good balance and a high tannic potential, characterized by sweet tannins that denote the good phenolic ripening of the berries.
It is a vintage reminiscent of the one from 2005, with the balance and fruity touches of the 2011 vintage. These characteristics allow that nowadays intense and expressive young and rosé wines can be enjoyed, but it presages that there will be many wines that after passing through barrel will express the highest quality of the Ribera, obtaining very great wines that can be enjoyed for decades (Source: Control Board DOC Ribera del Duero).
2014 was a warm year with normal precipitations in the entire Spanish territory. Autumn was damp and very warm, and the month of October had the highest temperatures since 1961.
At the Ribera del Duero, the year was slightly warm with normal precipitations. It has been characterised by a summer with low minimum temperatures and morning dew on the months of July and August. During this period, usually dry and hot, vines had been fully functioning. As a counterpart, the presence of powdery mildew had been high.
Spring was relatively warm and a bit dry, even though there were good water supplies thanks to the winter rains. Summer was fresh and very dry, followed by a damp and warm autumn, with two rain fronts of 26 litres of precipitations on the period between the 21st and the 23rd of September (3 days) and of 55 litres on the period between the 8th and the 15th of October (8 uninterrupted days of rain), respectively.
The wine harvest started after the water from the first rains was dry, the last week of September. Most of the harvest took place on the first week of October before the second rains. From the 12th of October the rest of the lands were harvested. That’s when the botrytis started showing on the less ventilated vines with higher performance.
Generally speaking, 2014 was a year in which vines had worked without scarcely vegetative stops. Young vines had a high performance, even though the ripening was late, coinciding with the second period of rains. Old and balanced vines produced great quality grapes that ripened the last week of September.