Tinto Pesquera Crianza 2019
- Ribera del Duero
Familia Fernández Rivera is a wine producer based in the Ribera del Duero region of Spain. It is best known for its Tinto Pesquera range of varietal red wines made from Tinto Fino (Tempranillo), which are spicy, dense and ageworthy.
The company also owns Condado de Haza, another estate in Ribera del Duero. Dehesa La Granja (Castilla y León VT) and El Vinculo (La Mancha DO) complete the portfolio of properties.
The estate was founded in 1972 before Ribera del Duero had come to prominence, by Alejandro Fernández (a former salesman of farm machinery) and his wife Esperanza. The purchase was financed by money from the sale of a patent. Pesquera de Duero was the home town of the couple; the estate lies on its outskirts.
The first harvest was the 1975. The wine found immediate success, following in the footsteps of its neighbor Vega Sicilia, and forced the recognition of DO status for Ribera del Duero in 1982. It is now one of the foremost wineries in the country.
The 200 hectares (500 acres) of mature vineyards are spread out along south-facing banks of the Duero river on a variety of soils, although these are mainly based on sandy, gravelly soil over limestone and clay. These vineyards are around 2000-2500ft (600-700m) above sea level, and have a continental climate with hot days and cool nights. Rather than cultivating bush vines, the plants are trained on low espalier trellises, to better capture ground heat. Pesquera was one of the first producers in the region to use wire training.
Tinto Pesquera's wines are made in a converted 16th-Century stone building. A carefully considered mix of French and American barriques are used to age the wines – the Crianza for a minimum of 18 months, and the Reserva for up to three years. The Gran Reserva and Janus Gran Reserva are aged for 36-48 months before release. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Condado de Haza
The second estate in Ribera del Duero, the first vineyards were planted here in 1987. There are now around 200 hectres (500 acres) of vines, all of which are Tempranillo, planted on sandy loam.
The winery was dug into the hillside; the bottle cellar is almost 30 meters underground. The lineup comproses a Crianza, Reserva, the Alenza Gran Reserva, and the 20 Aldeas cuvée.
Dehesa La Granja
This estate in Vadillo de Guareña in Zamora was planted in 1998 with Tempranillo propagated from Condado de Haza vines. The winery boasts a 3000-square-meter (32,000 square feet) underground cellar. The estate also farms various other crops (including olives and chickpeas) and livestock here.
The wines produced here are the eponymous standard cuvée and Dehesa 14. The number refers to the number of years the wine matured at the bodega before release, with the first two years in American oak barrels.
In 1999 the El Vínculo property was built in Campo de Criptana in Castilla La Mancha. This is the only estate featuring a grape variety other than Tempranillo.
The white wine made from Airén – Alejairén Crianza – is almost certainly the best example produced from this variety. Crianza and Reserva red wines are also produced, along with the Paraje de la Golosa Gran Reserva in the best years.
The group has several former names, including Bodegas Alejandro Fernández-Tinto Pesquera, and Grupo Pesquera Alejandro Fernández. The various changes are partly a reflection of the – often public – family disputes over the control of the company.
Alejandro Fernández, who died in May 2021 aged 88, was regarded as one of Spain's greatest winemakers. Along with those of Vega Sicilia, his wines were crucial in putting his region firmly on the world wine map.
However, Alejándro and his youngest daughter (winemaker Eva Maria) were – according to some reports – ousted in 2018 by his ex-wife Emilia (Esperanza) Rivera (from whom he was divorced in 2017) and their three eldest daughters. National broadsheet El País Economía referred to the protracted family court battle as the "Falcon Crest of the Ribera del Duero", referencing the well-known, vineyard-based US soap opera.
The current group name adds Emilia Rivera's surname and the business is now run by five grandaughters. - Information from Wine Searcher