During this time of togetherness, we invite you to gather near with three wines from an exceptional Ribera del Duero wine-making family! These wines were featured in our September 2021 Cúrate Spanish Wine Club shipment, and are an excellent example of the quality and storytelling we offer wine club members each month.
The story of Familia Fernández Rivera is incredible. The family is truly the driving force behind the DO Ribera del Duero. It all began with Alejandro Fernández and his wife, Esperanza Rivera, when they purchased a 16th century stone wine press and began producing their first wines. In the 1970s, they went against the norm by planting grapes instead of beets in an area that had never been known for producing wine – Ribera Del Duero. Since launching Tinto Pesquera in 1975, Familia Fernández Rivera has created what many critics consider some of the top wines in the world, and were integral in the classification of the Ribera del Duero DO in 1982. As of 2019, the granddaughters of Esperanza and Alejandro are at the helm of the company – now managing a diverse business of four wineries (Tinto Pesquera, Condado de Haza, Dehesa La Granja and El Vínculo), and Hotel Pesquera, showing an ability to innovate, adapt and grow.
In this shipment, you’ll taste wines from 3 of these 4 wineries. El Vínculo Alejairén Crianza is the only white wine made by the family, with 100% Airén grapes. You may not recognize the grape in conjunction with wine, but it’s the primary grape used in brandy production. Dehesa La Granja is truly a farm setting - cheese, olive oil and chickpeas are also produced on this land. The winery is located in Castilla y Leon, and was purchased by Familia Fernández Rivera after establishing Tinto Pesquera and Condado de Haza in Ribera del Duero, the source of the final wine in the shipment. Classically Ribera del Duero, Condado de Haza is full in body, but extremely well-rounded and balanced. It’s a display of the close relationship that Alejandro Fernandez had with the Tempranillo grape.
These selections are staples of Spanish wine, and it’s amazing to bring them together in a shipment for you to taste and process. Here's a bit more about each wine:
VARIETALS: 100% Airén
WINEMAKER: Alejandro Fernández (Familia Fernández Rivera)
REGION: DO La Mancha
ABOUT THE WINE: From the fourth winery of Alejandro Fernández, El Vínculo sits nearby the iconic Campo de Criptana windmills in the northern part of the D.O. La Mancha. It is a tribute to and a continuity of the winemaking tradition of the Fernández family, and their only white wine. Alejairén draws its name from the combination of its creator Alejandro and its grape variety Airén. Lying in the warmest region of the four Fernández estates, the grapes at El Vínculo are the first to be harvested. In general, the 2016 vintage can be characterized as a warmer year however, the first frosts arrived in November and December, which gave rise to a cold winter. A vintage said to produce wines of excellent depth and natural concentration, the 2016 Alejairén is a stellar example of what exceptional old-vine Airén can produce when hand-harvested and barrel-aged. With the Fernández family dedicated to natural winemaking, all wines produced are neither filtered nor fined before bottling. Upon completion of barrel aging, the Alejairén is then aged for a minimum of six months in bottle before it is released to the market.
TASTING NOTES: Fresh apricot, vanilla bean, honey and crème brûlée in both the nose and on the palate. Perfect for accompanying first courses, such as Iberian ham and pairs well with rice and pasta dishes, main course fish dishes and even as a dessert.
Dehesa La Granja
VARIETALS: 100% Tempranillo
WINEMAKER: Familia Fernández Rivera
REGION: Castilla y León
ABOUT THE WINE: Dehesa La Granja is the dream of anyone who loves the countryside; the Fernández Rivera family’s tranquil reverie come to life. The winery forms part of a working farm that is fully integrated into the environment of Zamora, a land it respects deeply, and embodies a true “farm-to-table” lifestyle. Close to the western border of the D.O. Toro, Zamora provides fruity, fresh and fragrant Tempranillo wines from the very heart of Spain. The estate was chosen for the unique traits that Tempranillo absorbs when grown in this distinctive terroir. All wines made at Dehesa La Granja are aged extensively. The estate has an impressive maze of 18th century tunnels that run under the farm, creating a unique labyrinth of cellars in which the wines repose. The Dehesa 14 is aged for 2 years in barrel, followed by at least 12 years in bottle.
TASTING NOTES: Dark cherry red, with an intense crimson color. Subtle aromas of blackberry and blackcurrant marmalade, with balsamic notes of licorice and vanilla. Humid and mineral notes like graphite. Fine acidity provides a light entry and an easy palate with a balanced structure. An elegant finish with hints of toast and licorice. A perfect accompaniment for red meats, game, mushrooms, truffles and other rich flavors.
Condado de Haza Crianza
VARIETALS: 100% Tempranillo
WINEMAKER: Familia Fernández Rivera
REGION: DO Ribera del Duero
ABOUT THE WINE: This red from Condado de Haza was thought of as a more modern style coming from this region in the 1980s however what's modern today makes this bottling seem quite reserved and balanced in style. Ribera del Duero reds are based on Tinto Fino, a synonym for the Tempranillo grape that grows in neighboring wine regions. Winemaker Alejandro Fernandez brought a resurgence to this region in the 1970s with his powerful, rustic style of Tinto Fino. Condado de Haza was planted in 1989, the south-facing slopes allow grapes to ripen in the sun by day while cool nights maintain acidity. The wine spends 15 months in French and American oak barrels and is bottled unfined and unfiltered.
TASTING NOTES: Lots of body, well integrated acidity, well-rounded tannins providing volume and persistence on the palate. The licorice aromas are present on the aftertaste. Ideal for accompanying all kinds of meat, grilled meats, roast lamb, suckling pig, casseroles and Ideal with roast lamb, lamb chops, oxtail, suckling pig and mature cheese.