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Bodegas Pinna Fidelis

Ribera del Duero

Blending traditional and modern techniques to craft quality wines

In terms of ownership, Bodegas Pinna Fidelis is somewhat unique as Spanish wineries subsist. Formed just after the start of this century, the entity is known as Cocope and comprises a large number of members (more than 70) that are growers around the town of Peñafiel. The town is located in the epicenter of the Ribera del Duero Region of North Central Spain. The actual company that is Cocope was founded in 1969 and originally produced cereals.

Diversification came much later when Cocope entered the essential oils, skin creams, deodorants and colognes markets. Establishment of Bodegas Pinna Fidelis completed the cycle for the sundry concern.

The name Pinna Fidelis is a direct testimonial to its home town of Peñafiel that has been associated with wine for more than two millenniums that date back to pre-Roman times. Led by President (of Cocope) Gabriel Alonso Resin, the relatively new winery is an ultra-modern facility that has already made its mark on the international wine community. The fact that its grower-members control more than 550 acres of prime vineyards assures Bodegas Pinna Fidelis of an excellent supply of highest quality fruit.

First released in 2003, the wines of Bodegas Pinna Fidelis have garnered major recognition during its relatively brief history. By employing traditional winemaking techniques of the area and utilizing its state-of-the-art facilities, the winery has become a leading producer of ultra-quality wines in the Ribera del Duero.

All of Bodegas Pinna Fidelis’ red wines are made from the great Tempranillo varietal and are hand-picked for quality. Only American and French oak are used in the ageing process and the wines are allowed long term presence within the barrels to assure quality and longevity. The Pinna Fidelis Verdejo is always night harvested (lower temperatures produce less oxidation) due to the high temperatures during harvest time in the region.

Interestingly, Cocope has also begun a non-profit initiative that involves the building of a residence for the elderly that will eventually involve an investment of more than nine million euros (almost $10.2 million dollars), a major investment for the area. The home will be owned by the Peñafiel Region and numerous registrations have already been accepted for the 150 spaces within the home.

Rafael Rubio de la Iglesias is the winemaker/enologist for this award-winning winery.

The Flag of Spain

Picture of The Flag of Spain

The current flag of Spain was adopted December 19, 1981 with three horizontal stripes and Spain's Coat of Arms in the center. The Spanish Coat of Arms symbolizes the country, the old kingdoms of Spain, the Royal Crown, the Imperial Crown, the Constitutional Monarchy, the Spanish national motto: Plus Ultra, and the Pillars of Hercules with the Spanish geographic situation.

The origin of the current flag is the naval ensign of 1785, which remained marine for much of the following fifty years, flying over coastal fortresses, marine barracks, and other naval property. In 1843, the flag became official and has since had changes made to the coat of arms. The color scheme has remained in tact since the beginning.

Wine Regions of Spain

Picture of Wine Regions of Spain

Planted to more than 29 million vineyard acres, Spain is the world's most widely planted wine producing nation. Over 400 different wine grape varietals are planted throughout the country, from the cooler green, rolling hills in the north to the hot, arid expanses in the south. Spain is highly influenced by the vast Central Plateau that covers much of the central land area. From here, several of Spain's principal rivers flow to sea and are at the heart of many of the country's wine regions.

In addition to the Central Plateau, mountain ranges in the northern and eastern regions isolate and influence the climate of several top wine regions. Lastly, another factor is elevation - overall, Spain is an elevated plateau with many of its vineyards planted at nearly 3,000 feet above sea level.

Spain: Fun Facts!

Picture of Spain: Fun Facts!

• Grapes are the third biggest crop in Spain after cereal and olives.

• Spain is the number one ranked country in the world in terms of area covered by vineyards.

• Spain is the number one producer of olive oil in the world with 44% of the world's olive oil production.

• Nearly three-quarters of the world's saffron is grown in Spain.

• Spain's vineyard have a very low yield (due to the dry climate), which makes the country the third in production behind France and Italy.

• One of Spain's most famous festivals is the Running of the Bulls. It occurs on St. Fermin's Day in July, in the northern town of Pamplona. Over 1 million people attend the festival each year.

• Football/soccer is Spain's most important sport. Spain won its first World Cup football title in 2010, which made the country the 8th country to have ever won.

• The most densely planted vineyards in Spain are in La Rioja.

• Spanish wines are often labeled 'joven', 'crianza', and 'reserva', to denote how long the wine has been aged for.

• The name 'Spain' comes from the word 'Ispania,' which means 'land of rabbits.'

• The main red varietals in Spain are Tempranillo, Bobal, Garnacha (Grenache), and Monastrell. The main white varietals are Airen, Macabeo, Palomino, and Pedro Ximenez.

Ribera del Duero

Picture of Ribera del Duero

The argument can be correctly made that no other wine region in Spain has accomplished more in the past three decades than the historic Ribera del Duero DO located in Castilla y Leon in Northern Spain.

The area is part of Spain’s “Golden Triangle” and enjoys a celebrated winemaking history that originated during Roman times. It was protected by Cistercian Monks during the Middle Ages and allowed to flourish. Even with this advantage, the wines of Ribera del Duero were not granted DO status until 1982. From that point on, the area literally exploded with new wineries and the resulting wines placed the Ribera del Duero on an even footing with other great European winemaking locales. In 2012, the prestigious wine industry publication Wine Enthusiast named the Ribera del Duero as the Wine Region of the Year, a most laudable recognition.

Location has a great deal to do with the swift emergence of the region. Four Spanish rivers – the Barbatino, Avia, Arnoia and Miño – converge here, and bountiful vineyards line the river valley floors. Majestic terraces cling to the steep hillsides that allow for superior fruit to be produced by the vines.

Ribera del Duero sits on the elevated northern plateau of the Iberian Peninsula at 2,800 feet above sea level. It is divided by the Duero River (as its name would suggest – Ribera del Duero means 'bank of the Duero'), which provides the local vineyards with a much-needed permanent water supply.

The region's inland location, coupled with the sheltering effects of the nearby Sierra de la Demanda and Sierra de Guadarrama mountain ranges, creates an extreme climate in which hot and dry summers are followed by harsh winters. Temperatures can range from 4 degrees below zero (F) to 104 (F) and during the growing season (the high daytime temperatures are combined with considerably cooler nights that produce optimum results and superior fruit). Soils-wise, alternating layers of limestone, marl and chalk under silt and clay topsoil combine to add great complexity and character to the wines of the Ribera del Duero Region.

Ribera del Duero is almost entirely devoted to red wine and is the area where the greatest Spanish grape, Tempranillo, holds court. All reds must contain at least 75% of the Tempranillo with the remainder made up of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Albillo or Garnacha.

Peñafiel is a sub region of the Ribera del Duero and is located in the very heart of the Province of Valladolid. It is closely associated with wine antiquity and houses hundreds of wine caves that store the town’s wines at constant temperatures. These caves have chimney vents for ventilation and to allow the gases generated by fermenting wine. These vents dot the countryside around the town and also the famous Penafiel Castle, built between the 13th and 15th Centuries, which is considered one of the greatest attractions in Spain.

Peñafiel is the home to Bodegas Pinna Fidelis; our current International Wine Club featured winery.

Spanish winemaking can be traced back many centuries.

Picture of Spanish winemaking can be traced back many centuries.

It is an understatement to say that the Spanish wine industry has undergone its fair share of problems. The Romans, Moors and other conquerors have exerted their influences on the country’s wine production for thousands of years. While Spanish winemaking can be traced back many centuries it has always enjoyed a unique place in wine history thanks to the varied soils and micro climates that can be found throughout the Iberian Peninsula.

But it is necessary to look at the more recent events to see how Spain has survived and flourished.

The French have always played significant roles in Spain’s evolution, mainly due to problems existing within their home country. In 1852, and, again in the 1870’s, French growers sought relief from oidium and phylloxera outbreaks and provided great influence over Spanish vineyards and bodegas of the era. This inspiration has remained until the present owing to the region’s closeness to Bordeaux in the southwest of France.

The 1950’s provided Spain with the domestic stability to begin a true revival for its long-suffering wine industry. The revision of Spanish wine law in 1970, Denominación de Origen (DO, more closely mirrored France’s Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC)) and other tight country wine restrictions produced the DO that insured quality beyond the normal limitations. With the death of Dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, Spain’s transition to democracy allowed more economic freedom for winemakers and created a market for Spain’s growing middle class.

Modernization of existing equipment and greater emphasis on higher quality wine production propelled Spain into the upper tier of European wine producers. 1986 saw the acceptance of Spain into the European Union along with additional economic aid to many of the country’s farmers and winemakers.

When the great varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay were introduced in the early 1990’s, Spanish wine production took another giant step forward.

The restrictions on irrigation were lifted in 1996, and growers and winemakers were given greater control over yields and specific areas that were plantable. As the new millennium dawned, Spain’s reputation as a serious wine producing country widened as its wines competed successfully in numerous worldwide wine competitions. Many new vineyards were planted at 2000 feet above sea level that benefited from large dinural variation (low night time temps that allow the grapes to maintain acidity levels and coloring) and generally produce superior wines.

Many entrepreneurial efforts produced smaller wineries with loftier aims and Spanish bottles suddenly became the darling in many shops and on affluent restaurant wine lists. Even some of the smaller wine regions benefited from their country’s reemergence as a top wine producer.

None other than the Wine Spectator wrote, referring to these young Spanish winemakers, “They want to prove that Spain is not just a source for value, but a land with incredible terroirs.”

Now there are hundreds of small production wines available throughout the world, at prices below their French and Italian counterparts. For the most part, these wines still represent an excellent price/value relationship, and one hopes that scenario will last.

Really impressive Spanish wines are here to say and will increase in number and statue as exposure increases and other top European wine prices continue to spiral out of control.

Rafael Rubio de la Iglesias - Winemaker

Picture of Rafael Rubio de la Iglesias - Winemaker

Rafael is the winemaker/enologist and technical director for this award winning winery. For this ambitious project, Rafael was hired even before the development began and was instrumental in the design of the winery. His winemaking philosophy is to capture the essence of Tinta del Pais (Tempranillo) and Ribera del Duero's terroir by producing fine and elegant wines.

Rafael Rubio has two undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Winemaking from the University of Salamanca, a degree in Enology from the University of Valladolid, and two masters degrees in Viticulture and Enology from the University of Valladolid, and Quality Systems from the University of Salamanca. He also studied for 10 months at the University of Perugia in Italy, working on Quantum Chemistry on Molecular Reactivity.

Rafael's professional career began at the Baron de Ley Group (located in El Coto de Rioja) as winemaker. Today, he is an essential piece of the Pinna Fidelis team and continues to build the winery's reputation through its award-winning wines.