Finca Villacreces | Ribera del Duero
Finca Villacreces was described by Robert Parker as “the hidden jewel of Ribera del Duero”. The estate is based at the heart of the Ribera del Duero DO, forming part of the ‘golden mile’ along with its immediate neighbour Vega Sicilia to the west, Pingus and other such high-profile estates. Located in Quintanilla de Onésimo, the stunning estate was purchased by the Antón family of Izadi in 2003 and the resulting wines, made by winemaker Ángel Ortega together with Luis Laso, are deep, dark and focused in style.
The vineyards follow what is called ‘integrated viticulture’, with canopy management and the use of natural treatments, instead of artificial chemicals. The myriad combinations of sand, gravel, shingle and quartz soils encourage low yields of intensely flavoured grapes (yields are around three tonnes per hectare, and only two kilos per vine). The estate sits at 735 metres above sea level and comprises 64 hectares. 85% of the vineyards are planted with Tempranillo (mostly on sand, which gives an attractive fleshiness to the wines), with 5% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon (mostly on the quartz and shingle, giving more mineral complexity).
‘Pruno’ was developed by the team at Villacreces a few years ago with the intention of making a Ribera del Duero that could be enjoyed earlier than their flagship wine. It is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in second and third-year French oak barrels. The Ribera del Duero, which is a step up in concentration, depth and complexity, has a red and black fruit character with hints of spice, vanilla and liquorice before giving way to a smooth, rounded texture and fresh acidity on the palate. ‘Nebro’, the single-vineyard wine, is named after the 1.2 hectare site of the estate’s oldest Tempranillo vines (planted in 1917), which lies just three metres from Vega Sicilia. It is produced only in exceptional vintages and in very limited quantities, just five barrels. The 2015 is the current release.