Vizcarra Torralvo is an estate-bottled wine made by Bodegas Vizcarra Ramos in the Ribera del Duero DO region. Today, Vizcarra is considered among the top producers in Ribera del Duero. Juan Carlos is one of the pioneers of the garagiste winemaking movement in Spain, has a philosophy centered on making wines that show elegance and finesse. In order to achieve this goal, the winemaking is exclusively by gravity. A focus on careful vineyard work and gentle winemaking prevents harsh tannins and instead produces soft, elegant wines. The emphasis is on the fruit rather than the tannins.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? An elegant wine from Ribera del Duero. Made by gravity, it exhibits purity and balance. This is a low production wine: only 550 cases are made for the world. Juan Carlos Vizcarra is one of the pioneers of “garage winemaking” in Ribera.
RATING HISTORY: 2015 93WA, 2014 91WA; 2012 93VM; 2012 93WA; 2011 92Vinous; 2010 93IWC; 2008 92WA; 2006 90+WA
GRAPE: 100% Tinto Fino. Vines planted from 1950 - 1995. Tended in clay, limestone and gravel soil from 820 - 840 m (2,690 - 2,755ft) elevation
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: With meaty, herbal, and earthy aromas, this wine has the soul typical of great Riberas. Pair this with lamb shank, roast beef, grilled steak and braised pork shoulder. For more casual fare, beef, lamb or bison burgers on the rare side and ropa vieja are good matches.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: 18 Months in French Oak Barrels
PRODUCTION: 550 cases (6 pack)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: 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 Burgos province in Castilla y León. For soils, out of the eleven parcels farmed to make Vizcarra Torralvo, there is predominantly sand, clay, limestone and gravel. 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. Reducing the vine's yield and vigor maximizes the intensity and concentration in the grapes. The area's climate has an average temperature from April-October of 60'F and the average annual rainfall is 18 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.
TASTING NOTES: Lurid ruby. Mineral- and spice-accented aromas of ripe red berries, lavender and Asian spices on the intensely perfumed nose. At once fleshy and light on its feet, offering juicy raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that show excellent clarity and building sweetness. Turns spicier on the wonderfully persistent finish, which features supple tannins and lingering mineral and floral nuances. -- Josh Raynolds.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold