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Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2017 edition review of Ribera del Duero (see blue link below).
Protos Finca El Grajo Viejo 2014 - January 2017 Decanter review
Protos Finca El Grajo Viejo 2014 - January 2017 Decanter review - individual reviewer comments
Bodegas Protos, who were instrumental in getting Ribera de Duero recognised as a designated area of origin, have recently celebrated their 90th anniversary.
Protos recently completed an in-depth analysis and categorised its vineyards by studying their features and analysing the quality of grapes produced. They have used this research to focus on improving quality. Thanks to this painstaking work, they have built up a wealth of information about each of their vineyards. This has made it possible to improve and adapt each of their plots to ensure the best use is made of each vineyard.
The vineyard categorisation process enabled them to identify vineyards that stand out from the others. Those located on the Valdepalacios estate of Finca El Grajo Viejo (= the old rook) were identified as being unique. These are well-established vineyards that are over 60 years old. Indeed, some of the plots contain vines that are a hundred years old.
Marilena, the chief winemaker, confirms that their in-depth analysis has made it possible to emphatically prove what every vine grower already knows: that old vineyards produce higher quality grapes and therefore the wines tend to have better ageing potential.
The climate on the Valdepalacios estate is harsher than in other parts of Ribera del Duero featuring long cold winters and warm dry summers. Rainfall is scarce, registering at just 305mm per annum. The Finca El Grajo Viejo vineyard lies at an elevation of 815m so is subject to marked differences between day-time and night-time temperatures. This creates grapes that more aromatic with high acidity levels. As the vines here have deep roots they are more resistant to drought during the hot, dry summers, ensuring the quality of the grapes at harvest time.
Great care is taken during the vintage to ensure that only the best quality grapes are selected for use in the winery. They are sorted in the vineyard and then undergo two further sorting procedures in the winery before winemaking can begin. Skin contact maceration and fermentation in barrel take place over 26 days at 28ºC. The wine then spends 18 months maturing in new French oak barrels.
The Finca El Grajo Viejo has a cherry colour with touches of violet. The aromas are powerful of ripe black fruits and violets, as well as toasty notes, toffee, chocolate and vanilla. The flavours are deep and intense, featuring red and black berries, oak, vanilla, black pepper. This wine also has good acidity and structure with a lingering finish.
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