Probation: Being sentenced to probation. It's less punishment than jail, but you still have to keep quiet, listen nicely, don't make mistakes... We don't bother and sit it out patiently. - TEXT MARJOLEIN SCHUMAN
Two famous Spanish winemakers and two famous Masters of Wine together for a master class: you can't have it any better. The tasting pack contains four beautiful bottles of red from Ribera del Duero. We can already see Almudena Alberca; in terms of looks, the Jennifer Lopez of the wine world, in terms of brains, Spain's first female Master of Wine (2018). Winemaker Isaac Fernández Montaña struggles for a while with the sound on his mobile phone. Wine critic, journalist and radio presenter Tim Atkin MW is dyed-in-the-wool when it comes to media and moderator Cees van Casteren MW takes the floor.
That you cannot sum up the wine region sprawling along the Duero river in one word is evident over the next hour and a half. More than 300 bodegas and each has its own blend of grapes, grown by 8,000 farmers, each representing a piece of terroir. Big common denominator: the exceptional weather conditions. Very hot and dry summers and harsh winters with frost. And the difference between day and night temperatures is huge.
So the climate is the biggest challenge in the DO Ribera del Duero, but both winemakers are actually enthusiastic about it. What do you do to protect the grapes? And: what don't you do? Isaac is not a fan of irrigation, the vines should just dig deep themselves for a bit of moisture, because hard work makes them strong. Almudena thinks irrigation is part of it because the plant should not be stressed. Fortunately, there is the grape tempranillo, up to all conditions.
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