Old is gold

Experts all agree that when it comes to making excellent wines, old is gold. The older a vine the better the wine its grapes make. Young vines lack developed root systems to make the most of the soils around them and, as plants don’t last forever, there is obviously an ideal age before old-age necrosis sets in. Hence, there comes a moment in a vineyard’s lifespan when exactly the right maturity begins to deliver quality dividends, and this usually begins to occur at the 30-year mark.

Although the story of Martín Berdugo goes back centuries, the single-vineyard estate that today surrounds the modern winery was planted by its owner, Josefina, in 1990 with the assistance and support of her husband Enrique as well as their three children Antonio, Bruno and Pepa.

During the early years of the vineyard’s development, its grapes were sold to other wineries in the region. As time passed, it became clear that the different alluvial soils and subsoil in the riverside plots – mainly gravel, sand, silt and light clay, all excellent for concentrating flavors and aromas in grapes – were going to make increasingly identifiable and special wines.

A decision was taken in 2000 to build a bespoke winery on the northern edge of the estate, anticipating a time when the fruit offered by the vines would start to become truly exceptional. The clean lines of its modern architecture earned praise and won a prestigious international award. Inside, the layout was designed so that gravity is harnessed to move grapes from the vineyard to fermentation tanks. This method is the gentlest and least intrusive as it protects the structural integrity and quality of the fruit. Perfect, hand-picked bunches can be harvested and delivered to the winery in minutes, thus avoiding oxidation damage and further ensuring excellence. Selective harvesting enhances and preserves the unique characteristics of each plot in the vineyard.

The terroir of the vineyard has been studied over the years to match each plot with the most appropriate viticulture and winemaking style. Grapes are thus harvested from individual plots and fermented separately to bring out their most beguiling aromas, flavors and textures. Cutting-edge technology is also used to keep a record of selected points in the vineyard, ensuring the vines are kept as healthy as possible. Vines are known to be competitive, often producing their best fruit when under just the right amount of stress. Miniature measuring stations are strategically located in the vineyard and satellite technology is used to monitor developments in real-time enabling a balanced tension between stress and fitness.

Documents held by the family in their palatial house in Aranda de Duero’s historic center show that this special south-facing estate on the banks of the River Duero has been linked to the cultivation of grapes for at least 200 years. Over the past 150 years, the region of Ribera del Duero has slowly come to the attention of wine experts around the world. It is today recognized as one of the best anywhere and its wines are a must-have on the best lists in shops and restaurants. Now is the time for you to discover how distinctive soils in this ancient and historic winemaking land can influence your enjoyment of the world-famous grape varieties that have evolved here.

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