Celia Vizcarra

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Juan Carlos Vizcarra is a man of intensity, passion, and incredible ambition. Though his family has grown grapes in northern DO Ribera del Duero for more than four generations, he was the first to make estate-bottled wine from this fruit starting in 1991. The story goes that when he was a boy, he noticed that the historic estates of Vega Sicilia and Pesquera would come to his family in bad vintages to buy fruit. Realizing that his family must have truly special vineyards of the highest quality, Juan Carlos took it upon himself to begin producing wines to express this blessed terroir and heritage. Juan Carlos and his wife have 2 daughters, the eldest of which is Celia – who is now helping him in the winery and studying enology full time. As one might imagine, Celia and her sister’s bottling (Ines) are the flagship wines of the Vizcarra estate. Production every year amounts to a total of 2100 bottles, and comes from a single, steeply sloped vineyard featuring some of the oldest and most pristine vines on the estate. Like all the wines at the tiny winery at Bodegas Vizcarra, Celia is made using gravity-fed winemaking to preserve the freshness and elegance that are intrinsic to the limestone-inflected plantings found in northern Burgos. Meticulous in everything he does, Juan Carlos applies his detail-oriented approach to every facet of the winemaking process. This is a wine meant for the cellar, and, stored properly, will continue to improve for at least 20 years in bottle.

Celia is a limited-production, single vineyard wine of 2,000 bottles, made only in the very best vintages. Named for Juan Carlos’ eldest daughter, Celia features a spicy dollop of old-vine Garnacha – extremely rare in Ribera del Duero (less than 1% of total plantings in the appellation). This wine combines power and elegance in the distinctive manner of the best Ribera del Duero wines, and will improve for decades in the bottle. Truly a benchmark bottling, Celia speaks to Juan Carlos’ position as one of the best winemakers in the appellation.

2016 95 WA; 2015 95 WA, 94 D, 93 TA; 2014 94 WA, 95VM, 93+VFTC; 2012 95W&S

93% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo), 7% Garnacha. Vines planted from 1950 - 1995. Tended in clay, limestone and gravel soil from 820 - 840 m (2,690 - 2,755ft) elevation.

This serious, structured red shows dense, complex aromas of wild herbs with red and black fruits. Super silky on the palate, this wine will reward patience. A decade of bottle aging or a minimum of two hours in a decanter before serving will help this wine show well. Next to the decanter, grilled rare or medium rare lamb chops are a perfect match, as well as grilled grass-fed beefsteak or pork tenderloin with rosemary.

After picking the best bunches from the vineyard's best vines, the best berries are selected to make one of Juan Carlos Vizcarra's smallest production wines. The tiny berries go into open-top barrels made of French oak for maceration and alcoholic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation takes place in large, 400-liter oak barrels, 90% French and 10% American. Celia is usually aged for 18 months. During this period, the wine is racked only once. The wine is bottled without any filtration or cold stabilization.

The vineyards are located in the town of Mambrilla, at 849 meters (2,785 ft.) elevation. They lie within the northern central area of the Ribera del Duero DO (Zone 2), in the province of Burgos in Castilla y León. The vineyard's topsoil is composed of clay and limestone and the subsoil is gravel. Relatively fertile, the soil has plenty of material with good water retention. To offset an undesirably high rate of vegetative growth, Juan Carlos reduces yields by thinning grape clusters from 20 to 8 per vine and by allowing other wild herbs to flourish around the vines. This foliage acts to absorb the potentially excessive water and nutrients from the soil. In reducing the vine's yield and vigor, Juan Carlos maximizes the intensity and concentration of the grapes. The area's climate has an average temperature from April-October of 60.5F and the average annual rainfall is 18.9 inches. From its higher altitude, Ribera del Duero's northern central area within Burgos has a cooler climate than either Toro or Rueda, to the west and southwest, respectively. Here, the wines are usually darker, more concentrated and have more forward aromas than wines made in the western part of Ribera del Duero. An extreme Continental climate, with cool nights and hot days with moderately low rainfall, provides a longer ripening period, and results in wines with greater complexity and more expressive, intense aromas.

Lurid ruby. Heady aromas of fresh dark berries, cherry liqueur, vanilla, potpourri and incense, along with a minerally topnote. Sweet and velvety in texture, offering intense, palate-staining blackberry, cherry cola and rose pastille flavors enlivened by a jolt of juicy acidity. Velvety tannins build slowly on the impressively long, penetrating finish, which leaves behind notes of dark berry preserves and candied flowers.-- Josh Raynolds




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