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Senda del Oro Roble 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. Like all the wines at the tiny Bodegas Vizcarra, the Senda del Oro is made using gravity-fed winemaking to preserve the freshness and elegance intrinsic to the limestone plots found in northern Burgos. The name refers to the “golden mile,” a local road stretching between the famed estates in the appellation. Meticulous in everything he does, Juan Carlos applies his detail-oriented approach to every facet of the winemaking process. With painstaking attention paid to every detail from vineyard to bottle, Juan Carlos is able to express the elegance and freshness intrinsic to this special land he farms by hand, without the use of chemicals. Oak is used as a framer of the fruit in a supporting role, and the result is a confluence of power and freshness that positions his wines among the greats of the appellation. While Senda del Oro is Vizcarra’s entry-level wine, the exacting nature of the regimen is the same as his flagship wines, and exhibits world class Ribera quality.

A pure, elegant expression of Ribera del Duero. Derived from gravity-fed winemaking and meticulous attention to detail, Senda del Oro showcases the freshness and minerality that is so often obscured with over-extraction in Ribera.

2019 90 WA; 2018 90+ WA, 90W&S; 2017 90WA; 2016 91VM; 2015 91VM

100% Tempranillo (Tinto Fino). Vines planted in 1950-1998. Tended in limestone and sandy soil at 849 m (2,785 ft) elevation.

Grilled pork and lamb are natural pairs for the generous fruit and acidity of Ribera del Duero, particularly flavored with woody herbs like rosemary and thyme.

After selecting the best bunches, then the best berries, the grapes are de-stemmed and crushed. Maceration lasts 12-15 days during and after fermentation. Fermentation is carried out in stainless steel tanks and malolactic fermentation takes place in barrels. The wine is aged for six months in French and American oak barrels that are two years old. Relatively short ageing in used barrels allows the wine to oxygenate and become softer and rounder without the added wood tannins of new barrels. This method lets the wine retain its fresh, youthful fruit characters.

3,000 cases

The vineyards are located in the town of Mambrilla, at 849 meters (2,785 ft.) elevation. This town is in the northern central area of the Ribera del Duero DO (Zone 2), within the province of Burgos in Castilla y León. For soils, out of the eleven parcels farmed to make Vizcarra Roble, there is predominantly sand, clay, limestone and gravel. The vines in the eleven parcels were planted in 1987. This is uncommon for a wine at this price point and a key factor for this wine's quality. Juan Carlos reduces yields by thinning grape clusters from 20 to 8 per vine, and by allowing other foliage to flourish around the vines to absorb the potentially excessive water and nutrients from the soil. The area's climate has an average temperature from April-October of 60'F and the average annual rainfall is 18 inches. 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. The temperatures at Vizcarra's vineyards are warmer than the neighboring bodega Torremorón and cooler than Hornillos Ballesteros-MiBal. Harvest usually begins the first week of October and ends by mid-month.

Ruby-red. Mineral-tinged raspberry, incense and floral pastille scents pick up a spicy accent with air. Juicy, sweet and seamless in texture, offering concentrated red fruit and spicecake flavors that put on weight as the wine opens up. The spice and floral notes carry through a long, energetic, focused finish shaped by silky, even tannins.-- Josh Raynolds.