Tomás Esteban is the father of current generation owner/winemakers Juan and Ricardo Esteban.
Juan and Ricardo Esteban
Tinta del Pais, Albillo
60 ha total, over 35 plots of different soil types, continental climate at a high altutude plateau with striking temperature variations during each season. Most remarkable Vineyards are Tomas Esteban and Juegabolos planted by Tomas Esteban, and those in the Valdehermoso section added by current generation Juan and Ricardo Esteban.
Bodegas y Viñedos Valderiz is located in Roa de Duero, in the heart of Spain, about 65 miles (160kms) north of Madrid. The family-run winery represents seven generations of vine growers. The current vineyards date back to 1932 when Tomás Esteban’s father planted 24 acres (10 hectares) of vines on the family property. In 1980, Tomás decided to dedicate his time exclusively to the family vineyards. For the next ten years, Tomás and his son Juan Esteban planted and cultivated the vineyards and in 1997, Bodegas y Viñedos Valderiz was born.
Today, the Bodegas and Viñedos Valderiz vineyard is made up of 148 acres (60 hectares). Distributed over more than 35 plots on different soil types, the vines were grafted with cuttings from old family vineyards planted 100 years ago. The vines are pruned as traditional low gobelet bush vines.
The Esteban family is one of the leaders of organic agriculture in the Ribera del Duero. They do not use any herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers. All wines as of the 2018 vintage releases carry organic certification by the CAECyL (Consejo de Agricultura Ecologica de Castilla y Leon).
Since 2000, brothers Juan and Ricardo have increased their attention to biodynamic farming practices, though the Esteban family has always incorporated many practices passed down through generations. Biodynamic farming practices are tied to the lunar cycles which biodynamic farmers believe influence the vegetative development of the vine. The Esteban family helps the life of the soils at a microbiological level with “preparation 500” which is a soil compost made of decomposed cow horns and cow manure for soils richest in microbes, which helps to decompose the organic material and mineralize it so that the plants can absorb it.
Their biodynamic pruning processes happen during the first crescent quarter moon phase when they find more vigor and strength in the sprouts, and during the last quarter waning moon there is less vigor with the vines’ next sprouts. For ploughing a tilling, they find it is best to plough during a new moon as the soils are more porous. Grafting occurs during the first crescent quarter because the sap level rises with more plant strength. Choosing rootstock for grafting happens during the last quarter/waning moon as there’s no sap in the stem and therefore lasts longer.
Ricardo Esteban is lead winemaker, preferring the cellar, while brother Juan continues his focus in the vineyards as lead viticulturist alongside his father’s continued guidance. Their cousin Esther Esteban is the laboratory manager. Their winemaking processes are gentle with long, cold macerations. Natural yeasts create spontaneous fermentation. Absolutely no artificial wine-making additives (acidifiers, tannins, glucose, enzymes etc) are used. Every detail is important, from the cleanliness of the equipment to frequent tests at every stage of production.
Aging is done in barrels selected from the finest French coopers, using 80% French and 20% American oak. The quality of the barrels is monitored while the coopers make them, so the family can control the amount of firing each barrel receives. Specific degrees of firing are matched to the different soil types in the vineyards. In addition to barrels, the Esteban family has been studying the behavior of concrete on the aging of their wines for years and have had very good results, leading them to confidently begin incorporating concrete into both fermentation and aging processes in recent years. Currently concrete is used during fermentation for De Chiripa, Valderiz, and partially in the Crianza. It’s also an increasingly crucial part of the aging process for De Chiripa, and also toward the end of the aging of Valderiz and the Joven as of the 2019 vintage. Concrete is very respectful to the fruit and doesn’t alter the mouthfeel nor the primary aromatics. Additionally, in the concrete vats where they are fermenting, the musts are very fine, elegant and aromatically more expressive. The use of concrete in their winemaking practices delivers smooth texture and finesse to their wines.
Every detail is considered of the utmost importance, including rigorous checks that are carried out on the grapes, from three weeks before the harvest, right up until the client is served with the bottle.
About the region:
The Ribera del Duero has a Mediterranean climate influenced by the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The region also experiences continentality represented by hot dry summers, long cold winters and 2,400 hours of sunshine per year. Rainfall is moderate to low with an average of 17 inches (450mm) per year. Roa del Duero, where Bodegas y Viñedos Valderiz is located, is in the heart of the Duero River Valley, where wine is the center of cultural and economic development.