Atalayas was established with the goal of producing Ribera wines reflecting its vineyards' privileged location in the Atauta Valley. Oenologist Almudena Alberca - yes, the same Almudena from Dominio de Atauta - does just that with brio, on the bodegas own 40 hectares of vineyards. And for a price that is more than reasonable.
The plots are located at between 950 and 980 metres altitude. The climate there is extremely continental (long, cold winters and short, hot summers) with limited Mediterranean influence. The soil consists mostly of sand, clay and river rocks. The vines are between 60 and 80 years old and are planted 'en gobelet' which means they have to be picked by hand. On average there is one plant per two square metres, which means that there are no more than 2,500 vines per hectare so that the yield is limited to 4,000 kg per hectare. All these factors ensure refined, balanced wines whose grapes have been matured to perfection.
D.O. Ribera del Duero
D.O. Ribera del Duero is located in central Spain, 100 km north of Madrid. Together with Rioja and Priorato this D.O. is considered one of the best regions for Spanish wines. With altitudes of 700 to 850 metres, cold winters and warm summers, and strong temperature fluctuations between day and night, the grapes ripen slowly and develop excellent acidity. These Crianzas and Reservas are wines absolutely suited to ageing.
Ribera del Duero is blessed with a combination of terroir, microclimate and a native grape variety which allows outstanding and complex red wines to be made. At this altitude, Tempranillo (also known as Tinta del País or Tinto Fino) develops refreshingly acidic grapes with thin skins, which make wines that can be enjoyed both young and as Gran Reservas. After being awarded D.O. status in 1982, many vineyards were replanted and all sorts of bodegas, ranging from small family businesses to large cooperatives and wine estates, began investing in modern winemaking technology. At the same time, families, which had previously sold their grape harvests to bodegas, established their own wineries, while the Consejo Regulador stimulated research and development projects ranging from automatised harvest quality controls to pesticide alternatives
This newly acquired common knowledge had an enormous impact on the quality of the wine, which is nowadays exported throughout the world. There is a wine museum in Peñafiel Castle and the Centro de Interpretación del Vino (a museum entirely dedicated to winemaking) in Aranda del Duero (Burgos).
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