The vineyards in the appellation DO Ribera del Duero cover almost 20.000 hectares and are located mainly in the autonomous community of Castilla y León, including municipalities from Burgos, Soria, Segovia and Valladolid provinces. It is one of the largest production areas in Spain, where the main winemaker villages are: Pedrera de Duero, La Aguilera, Gumiel de Hizán, Aranda del Duero, La Horra, Roa, Peñafiel and Valbuena del Duero. The continental climate of Ribera del Duero is softened by the Atlantic influence, winters are long and cold with temperatures that can drop up to minus 18ºC while summers are hot and dry. Rainfalls are moderate, not exceeding the 450mm3 per year. Additionally the sudden and pronounced temperature changes have to be considered, both between day and night all over the year, as well as elevate sunshine that is estimated to be about 2.400 hours annually.
Ribera del Duero vineyards sit on interfluvial plains, almost 900 metres above the sea level, and on valleys placed at 750 to 800 metres altitude. The smoothly undulate features of the landscape are the result of the slow but steady erosion of the terrains from the Miocene period. Thus, these areas are formed by sediment layers where silty or clayey sands proliferate, interchanging with other limestone and marl layers. By and large, these soils are not overly fertile; rich in lime and of loosen texture, most suitable for vineyard cultivation.
The main varieties in this appellation are Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot, without ever forgetting the Tinta del País. Ribera del Duero wines are very aromatic and fruity, with a deep red colour when young, that evolve into smooth, velvety wines rich in flavour and taste sensations upon ageing. Rosé wines are emblematic in this designation, also known as “claros” or “claretes” stimulating and easy to drink. They have an appealing tangerine colour and moderate alcoholic content.
Ribera del Duero is a zone that has transformed the quality red wine production in Spain, sheltered by the singular Vega Sicilia winery, main accountable for its reputation and the red wine quality standard in this DO. Other wineries that also modified the winemaking outlook in the area are Protos, Pesquera, Pérez Pascuas and Pingus.