The stunning Finca Villacreces estate is located in Quintanilla de Onesimo on the 'golden mile', in the heart of Ribera del Duero DO. The 155 hectare property is bordered by the River Duero to the north and by the vineyards of Vega Sicilia to the west. It was purchased by Lalo Antón of Izadi in 2003 to add further scope to their wine portfolio. The vineyards are now farmed organically, with canopy management and natural treatments used instead of artificial chemicals. As expected, Tempranillo is the mainstay of the vineyards, with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon also planted.
Grapes for Pruno are only taken from Finca Villacreces’ own vineyards, from slightly younger vines. Until recently, the estate sold this production to some of the high profile wineries in the region. Now that the vines have reached between 10 and 15 years of age, the Izadi family has begun to handpick and vinify the grapes themselves. The vineyards have a mixture of soils: sandy, gravel, shingle and quartz. The vineyards are planted with about 90% Tempranillo (mostly on the sandy vineyards, which give an attractive fleshiness to the wines) and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon (mostly on the quartz and shingle, giving more mineral complexity). Organic practises are used as much as possible and the close proximity of the river helps protect against frost. Work is currently being undertaken in the vineyards to raise the height of the canopy to obtain riper, healthier grapes.
The harvest in 2017 was challenging across the whole of Spain with Ribera del Duero being no exception. Growers contended with spring frosts and summer hail which resulted in lower yields. However, the low rainfall meant grapes were perfectly balanced in sugar and acidity.
The Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were fermented separately in small stainless steel tanks. The two varieties were then aged separately in fine-grained, second and third-year French oak barrels (Taransaud and Darnajou) for 12 months after which the final blend was assembled and the wine bottled.
See blue link below for the estate's own fiche technique/technical note on the Pruno 2017.
This wine is deep, black cherry in colour. Aromas of red fruit with oaky toffee hints from the ageing in French barrels give way to a sweet and fruit-driven wine on the palate. With elements of ripe fruits and liquorice, this wine has a pleasant and soft finish.
ABV = 14.0%.
** IT'S BACK! THE NEW VINTAGE OF THIS EXEL FAVOURITE! EXCLUSIVE TO EXEL WINES IN THE UK ... AND RARE OUTSIDE OF SPAIN!. **
Exel tasting note, esp for previous buyers:
The Protos "27", although made with great precision, is produced firmly in the modern Ribera/Rioja idiom: concentrated, riper, with darker/blacker fruit and a focus on greater immediacy and earlier drinking than the older style, classic Reservas and Gran Reservas.
That central purpose of the "27" continues in the 2017. It should not be overstated, however: this wine will drink very well to 10 years from vintage and is a wine of great precision, high grape quality, superb elevage/oaking. It simply remains a departure from the Protos reds of the past.
The 2015 was a true truck-stopper of a vintage in terms of power and ripeness: for some customers it was the apotheosis of immediacy and, for some, a little 'jammy'. It was hugely popular with most and is still in awesome condition for drinking ... for those that still have it!
The 2016 was altogether more refined, restrained and elegant; it had more structure, was redder in fruit nature and its dials were set back into a 'safer' set of flavour ranges. Again, this too should not be overstated: it was still a Ribera/Protos of greater immediacy.
2017 sits somewhere between the two: more full-on and intense than the 2016 but not quite as 'unhinged' as the 2015. Although 2017 was not a great vintage in Ribera generally, the "27" 2017 is probably the 'Goldilocks' Porridge' (ie just right) of Protos "27"s and the flavour profile that Protos most envisaged when releasing the "27" in 2014.
See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.
Protos have made an excellent 1-minute video clip about the "27" - click here - highly recommended.
To commemorate their 90th anniversary and their first vintage, Protos have recovered their first label for a very special (yet very affordable) release, following 10 years of research in a) viticultural techniques, b) oak barrel characterization and c) indigenous /natural yeasts.
These have emerged and resulted in this unique fine wine. The project researching indigenous yeastshas been one of the most ambitious ones in the history of Bodegas Protos. The objective: using their own yeasts allows the expression in this wine of the real characteristics of Tinto Fino (the local name for the Ribera del Duero clone of Tempranillo) and their different vineyards.
The Tinto Fino comes from from vineyards in excess of 50 years of age and at an altitude of around 850m, located in the Roa-La Horra–Anguix triangle, where the oldest known plots of Ribera del Duero are planted. Soils are clay-based, with occasional chalky concretions.
Hand harvested in small crates of 20 kg. Grapes were cold stored before the selection of the best bunches by hand at two sorting tables. After a few days of pre-fermentation, skin contact/cold maceration (to obtain the most delicate aromas available), alcoholic fermentation took place in 15,000 kg stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 25ºC. After 3 weeks of fermentation and maceration, pumping over/pigeage of the wine several times a day, the wine was stored in premium French oak barrels, where malolactic fermentation took place.
The Protos "27" was aged for 16 months in new French oak barrels and then one year in the bottle in the winery.
100% Tempranillo (Tinta del Pais).
The Protos '27 is intense, complex and elegant on the nose, with a broad range of aromas: black fruit (esp plums/damsons), toasted and vanilla notes; these are well integrated with tertiary aromas like toffee and liquorice. In the mouth its persistence, concentration, roundness and balance reveal a high-end wine for long-term aging that will improve in the bottle for a good time (estimated 10 years).
ABV = 14.5%.