"Jesús Sastre’s Reserva comes from estate Pagos Las Navas, Carra Santamaría, Fuentenarro, Carranaguix, Valdelayegua, Las Tenadas near the town of La Horra at 830m. Sastre handcrafts classic wines through extremely low-yielding biodynamic farming methods, fermenting exclusively with native yeasts, and bottling with low sulfur.
Viña Sastre’s Reserva is a stunning new release of a historic style from Ribera del Duero not currently made by most producers nowadays, many of whom value quantity over quality. Jesús Sastre has chosen specific parcels from vineyards planted in 1964 around his key village of La Horra, in the appellation’s qualitative center, where vines are planted in the dense, stony clay-calcareous soils. These soils form the backbone of the region’s famous ageable red wines, capable of improving for decades in bottle. He has chosen to make a Reserva selection to make accessible a classic, ageable village wine with the goal of expressing the greatness of his village of La Horra. Grapes are hand-harvested into boxes with a selection in the field, followed by a very critical sorting in the winery; only the best grapes go into Viña Sastre Reserva. His wines are always spontaneously fermented with native yeasts from the vineyard and are never fined or filtered. This process is all a part of Jesús’ vision for making wine in the most natural way possible. The vision is natural, or ancestral: wine at the very highest level.
In 2017, Ribera del Duero saw a very mild winter which resulted in an early bud break and then significant loss of fruit from the massive frost event in March 2017. Yields were down by 70%, limiting production. The summer was dry and hot with rainfall at the end of August, which was not enough to improve water deficiencies. All this led to an early harvest and one of the lowest yields of the last 15 years. The drought has meant very low yields, so the wines are fruit-driven and concentrated, with ripe tannins. Despite high levels of concentration, tannins are soft and unctuous; they feel rather fresh on the palate and are like to be in line with 2015, perhaps a little bit fresher and more complex.
Following a manual harvest, bunches are sorted in the vineyard and also at the winery for quality. The wine is spontaneously fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel, undergoing a long maceration on the skins. The wine is cold stabilized naturally by moving the wine from the barrel room to separate tanks in a part of the winery whose temperature is naturally regulated by the outdoor winter temperatures. It is then racked into French and American oak barrels (70% new) of exceptional cooperage for 14 months before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. It is then bottle-aged for an additional ten months before release. Only a very minimal amount of sulfur is added at bottling."
Stunning nose. Black raspberry, violets, blueberry, and spice. Full-bodied, with plush and velvety dark berry notes, suggestions of mocha and fully ripe tannins. What I appreciate most about this wine is that it is a powerhouse, but even in that style it maintains its balance, and the fruit never gets liqueur like. Drink now with roasted leg of lamb or dry-aged rib-eye. This can also be cellared and drunk over the next decade or more. It is a great value given its pedigree!
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