Region: Ribera Del Duero, Spain
Perfect with: Steak, roast lamb
Ageing Potential: 10-15 years
Why You'll Love It
The man who helped put Ribera del Duero on the wine map turns 87 this year and he has never attended any formal winemaking training or studies, nor has he ever followed any fashion trends. He’s one of those unconventional and intuitive winemakers who always followed his heart ever since making his first Tinto Pesquera in 1975. You can’t really box his style into any conventional stereotype - he’s not an industrial winemaker, he harvests everything by hand, uses very little chemicals, yet he’s not a traditionalist either. All his vines are trellised with irrigation system because he really believes the vines need a little help during extremely hot years. He doesn’t follow a calendar when it comes to harvest time, picking when he believes the fruit is at optimum ripeness, but not overripe like the mistake many other producers make in this region. His wines are known for being very fruit driven and true to varietal and regional character. He never filtered or fined his wines, not because he was pro vegan or trying to be trendy but because intuitively he thought that would make his wines lose flavour. Back in the days he used to give out a decanter with every single bottle of Pesquera.
Unlike the other legendary Ribera Estate, Vega Sicilia, Pesquera Reserva is made entirely from 100% Tinto Fino (the local version of Tempranillo, different to the clone from Rioja). Sourced from older vines, and aged for 24-30 rather than 18 months in oak (followed by 12 months in bottle), the Reserva is a significantly more intense, powerful and nuanced version of its younger sibling. The Fernández' team have been known to drop 50% of the fruit to regulate the yields, and the style balances the power and complexity of the resulting low yields and minimal handling, with the classic high-grown freshness of the region. The result is a layered, structured red with a core of silky, ripe fruits (blackcurrant, sarsaparilla, cedar, a twist of leather), complexed by savoury bracken notes and with a long, driven and vibrantly fresh close.