Mibal Roble is a wine made by Bodegas Hornillos Ballesteros, a small “garage winery” in the town of Roa within the Ribera del Duero DO region. This wine shows the power and energy of Ribera del Duero. Great friends, winemakers and owners Miguel Hornillos and Javier Ballesteros are genuine “garagiste” winemakers who come from a long family tradition of grape growing. Of all the limited production wines that this bodega makes, there's no better example that transmits the energy and character of Miguel and Javier than Mibal Roble. The majority of grapes for this wine come from an 50-year-old vineyard in the village of Anguix. The grapes that usually show brighter fruit characters come from the areas rich with clay throughout this vineyard. Eco-friendly vineyard work and a methodical selection of grapes are essential to the unique character and quality of these wines. Miguel's sister and Javier's fiancée Cristina is the third proprietor and the “heart and soul” of Hornillos Ballesteros Mibal. In the adjacent villages of Anguix and Roa, the vineyards are situated at 806 meters (2,644 ft.) elevation, within the Burgos subregion of Ribera del Duero (Zone 2) and the winery is located in the village of Roa.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? The vines that produce grapes used to make this wine are tended in clay soil that exhibits generous, bright fruit. This small production wine is made in Miguel Ballesteros's garage. Mibal Roble is produced from the best 15% of a given year's harvest. The vineyards are owned and farmed by Miguel and Javier, who only use organic farming practices.
RATING HISTORY: 2011 91Vinous; 2009 90IWC; 2008 91RP; 2006 92RP
GRAPE: 100% Tempranillo (Tinto Fino). Biodynamically grown vines planted from 1965-1989. Tended in sand, gravel and clay soil at 806 m (2,644 ft) elevation. This is a vegan wine.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: This wine has the “stuffing” and spine to stand up to a variety of foods prepared with some “heat,” including BBQ chicken, roast pork tenderloin with Moroccan rub and carne asada beef with peppers. More casual foods like Jamaican beef patties, brick-oven pizza and cheddar burgers are also a great match.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: 14 months in French oak barrels.
PRODUCTION: 1,000 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The vineyards are in the adjacent villages of Anguix and Roa, at 806 meters (2,644 ft.) elevation, in the Burgos subregion of the Ribera del Duero DO (Zone 2). Javier and Miguel own vineyard parcels, each composed of diverse soil types. In the village of Anguix, Javier owns nearly 20 hectares (49 acres) from vines planted 1936 in loamy soil composed of 40% sand, 40% fine gravel and 20% thin clay. Poor in nutrients, this soil prevents excessive vegetation and produces smaller, more concentrated berries. Yields are a mere 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) per vine, of grapes with high skin-to-juice ratios, deep pigmentation and well balanced, ripe tannins with rich, intense flavors. In Roa, Miguel owns 20 hectares (50 acres) of vines that average 35 years old, planted in sand and limestone with small particles of clay. Yields are limited further by pruning in early May. Carefully tended vines produce consistently high quality fruit and outstanding wines from vintage to vintage. For climate, the average temperature from April-October is 61F. The Ribera del Duero's Burgos subregion is situated at a higher altitude and, as a result, this area is cooler than either Rueda or Toro to the west. The wines produced in the Burgos area of Ribera are darker, more concentrated and more aromatic than wines from the western part of Ribera. Annual rainfall is a low 18.6 inches. The Continental climate has dry cool nights and hot days with relatively low rainfall. These conditions provide a longer ripening period, which results in wines of intense concentration, complexity and expression.
TASTING NOTES: Brilliant ruby. Powerful, spice-tinged aromas of ripe plum, cassis, cherry-vanilla and rose, with a smoky topnote. Lively dark fruit flavors pick up licorice and floral pastille nuances with air. Youthfully firm tannins shape a lively, gently sweet, nicely persistent finish. This wine spent 14 months in a combination of new and used French oak barrels.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold