Bodegas Gormaz has been turning out exemplary Ribera del Duero from old, head pruned Tempranillo vines since 1972. One of the original 16 bodegas of the D.O. Ribera del Duero, Bodegas Gormaz was originally founded as a cooperative consisting of some 360 growers in the Ribera del Duero province of Soria. Today, Bodegas Gormaz is privately owned and managed, and it is fashioning outstanding red and white wines from Ribera del Duero and Rueda, respectively, that simply must not be missed.
Brought to fore by Classical Wines of Spain, Bodegas Gormaz now consists of more than 1,300 acres of vines in Soria for making quintessential Ribera del Duero and a 125 acre estate vineyard on the Adaja River in Rueda for fashioning the bodega’s exceptional white wine. Many of the vineyards of Bodegas Gormaz are in excess of 50 years of age and have been propagated from vine to vine in pre-phylloxera fashion, which means they grow on un-grafted rootstock, a rarity in the 21st century. The estate’s reds are pure, rich, unadulterated Ribera del Duero from 100% old vine Tempranillo. Moreover, the estate’s Rueda is equally impressive. Bodegas Gormaz fashions its delicious Rueda exclusively from Verdejo and Viura, the region’s finest traditional grape varieties.
Rueda lies to the northwest of Madrid in an historic part of ancient Castilla and León. Rueda, especially the town of Nava del Ray and the surrounding countryside, is known for its extraordinary architecture. Many opulent churches, monasteries, and mansions punctuate the region, highlighting Rueda’s important role in the medieval Reconquest of Spain from the Moors.
Wine production has been an integral part of Rueda since the 11th century, when King Alfonso IV offered freehold ownership of land to those prepared to resettle Rueda after the Reconquest. Monastic orders quickly took up the King’s offer and built monasteries with vineyards to provide a steady wine supply. Soon the vineyards of Rueda had become the primary suppliers of wine to the itinerant medieval Castilian court. The viticultural glory and commercial success of Rueda and its noble Verdejo grape would last until phylloxera devastated the region between 1909 and 1922, destroying more than two-thirds of the region’s vineyards. Subsequently, the vines chosen for replanting were unfortunately selected for yield rather than quality, which means the high yielding Palomino replaced Verdejo as the main grape in Rueda. Furthermore, the little Verdejo that was made had no chance to mature; it was sold locally in bulk.
Fortunately, the sagging fortunes of Rueda took a turn for the better in the 1970s. Marqués de Riscal, a leading Rioja producer, came to Rueda and set up a bodega to make young, fresh white wines from native Verdejo grapes. Meanwhile, Angel Rodriquez was launching his quest at Martinsancho to revive Verdejo and restore the indigenous varietal to its former glory. As a result of these efforts Rueda won DO status in 1980, and it has never looked back. Rueda is presently Spain’s leading DO for still premium white wines.