Castro Ventosa Valtuille Cepas Centenarias 2019


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“The 2019 Valtuille Cepas Centenarias comes from a single plot of ancient vines that could qualify as Vino de Paraje and in the future as Vino de Viña, but they are never going to do it because it’s their traditional name and label and one of the most consistent wines from the winery. It is made with field blend with lots of different grapes on clay and sand soils. It fermented with full clusters and indigenous yeasts with a long 60-day maceration and matured in 225- and 500-liter oak barrels (but, in the future, they might move to oval oak foudres) for one year. It has the violets and the perfume from the 2018 vintage but with more dimension, more layers and depth. A stellar performance in 2019 (again!). 3,500 bottles produced, what the plot delivered. It was bottled in June 2021. Drink: 2022-2035. 98 points

At Castro Ventosa they are separating the plots to have more precision, and they have a new top-of-the-range red called La Vitoriana. The wines have less alcohol, less ripeness and less oak, and they are cleaner and more focused. They own 80 to 85 hectares from the 500 hectares in the village of Valtuille, so they don’t buy a single grape (and they don’t sell any either).

For César Márquez, who likes 2018, thinks 2019 is more serious, keeping the freshness (perhaps with more structure), a more complete year. 2020 had a warmer summer and saw an early harvest, and the result is better than he expected. It’s a warm vintage but not as warm as 2017. I see many similar opinions in Bierzo. However, the 2020 whites felt one notch above the 2019s…”

Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (01/22)