Ribera del Duero, Spain
The Ribera del Duero region, where the estate is located, is at an approximate altitude of 700 to 800 masl. This altitude produces an extreme climate change between day and night (an approximate difference of 18° to 20° C) helping to produce wines with an excellent color, structure, acidity and suitable for aging in barrels.
The climate is continental with an Atlantic influence. The rainfall is moderate, from 400 to 600 mm per year, mainly in Spring and Autumn, with sporadic precipitations in form of storms during Summer. The average insolation is approximately 2,200 hours of clear sunny days, allowing excellent grape ripeness.
The rigors of the climate, with the aforementioned temperature differences and low precipitations, determine low but high quality grape yields.
In general, the soils of our Ribera del Duero vineyards vary significantly but the predominant type is rocky, calcareous, sandy and clay. Most of the soils have very low organic material component, making it easier to obtain quality grapes.
O. Fournier owns a 110-hectare property in the town of Berlangas de Roa, between La Horra and Roa de Duero, within the Burgos province. Of these, 65 hectares are planted with vines at El Pinar Estate. The first plantings of the El Pinar Estate were done in 1946 with the first two hectares. From then on, planting kept developing into the current 65 hectares. Of the total amount of hectares, half of them are from 25 to 62 years old, the rest are from 9 (1 hectare) to 21 (14 hectares) years old. Approximately 70% of the vineyards are planted in the bush vine system and range from 1,100 to 2,900 plants per hectare. There are 16 hectares that use the vertical shoot system and have approximately 2,700 plants per hectare. The main variety is Tinta del País (Tempranillo), with one hectare of Merlot.
Among the different types of soils found at the El Pinar Estate, the predominant type is alluvial with its origin in the Duero River. Our property borders the river for more than 4 km. There are sandy areas, mainly in the Western side of the estate. There is also a clay layer approximately 60-100 cm deep that helps retain humidity. In general, the soil has extremely low organic material and excellent drainage. The pebble stones additionally improve grape ripeness and limit frost difficulties through the heat refraction they receive during the day from the sun and that they return at night.
Given the poorness of the soils, the age of the vineyard, plant density and short pruning, yields never excess 3,000 kg per hectare. Our objective is to maintain yields at 2,000 kg/ ha. These yields guarantee a very high grape-quality potential.
Additionally, O. Fournier´s technical staff has been working on a research study in order to divide the estate in different areas, taking into consideration the particular characteristics of each area: soil structure, orientation, plant density, vineyard age and clones used. This research helps us to obtain knowledge of particular vineyard blocks and to carry out a more specific production, depending on these characteristics.
The remaining area of the 110-ha. property is completed with several irrigated wheat farms and a pine forest with native pine trees of more than 180 years of age.
The objective of O. Fournier is the production of high quality wines with the use of the grapes from our properties. The plan is to produce a maximum of 250,000 bottles.
The winemaking responsibility falls on Laura Terrazas, who is helped by José Spisso, Chief Enologist of the O. Fournier Group, in charge of the Argentine winery as well. The Group also receives viticultural advice from Oscar Lescure, who is also a consultant for the O. Fournier viticulture engineers both in Argentina and Chile.
The winemaking techniques are comparable to the finest wineries of the world: hand-picked grape harvest in 18 kg boxes, the use of double-sorting tables, cold maceration, malolactic fermentation in barrels, etc. From a technical point of view, the objective is to produce wines in the same fashion as the best wineries of the world, but maintaining the typicity of the native grape, Tinta del Pais.
Spiga, our second wine, is kept in half-new half-second year oak barrels for around one year. The wine ages in the bottle from 6 to 12 months. Alfa Spiga, our top wine, is kept in new barrels every year, for approximately 18 months and one year in the bottle. Our third brand, Urban Ribera, stays in French oak barrels for three months.
The barrels come from the best coopers in France and Spain. Approximately 80% are produced with French oak and the rest are produced with Eastern European and American oak.
Regarding the marketing strategy, the “O. Fournier” brand will be commercialized as an umbrella brand, symbolizing high quality wines, independent from the region where they are produced. Different brands and labels are used for each region.
Up until now, our wines have had very interesting results. Spiga 2004 received “Best Old World Red” Trophy at the Japan Wine Challenge and in Decanter Magazine, 91 points in Wine Advocate (Robert Parker) and in Wine Enthusiast and 90 points in Wine Spectator. Alfa Spiga received 93 points Editor´s Choice in Wine Enthusiast. O. Fournier Ribera del Duero 2004 has just received 95 points from Wine Spectator, making it one of the top three Spanish wines from 2008 and 2009.
The improvements made at the winery to update it to the technical demands the O. Fournier Group requires for its wine production, are finished. The production and storage capacity is of approximately 325,000 lts. in cone-shaped stainless steel tanks, epoxy-lined cement vats and French oak vats that range from 4,000 to 15,000 lts. The new winery has been designed to work with gravity.
The winery has a storage capacity of approximately 2,000 oak barrels at constant temperature and humidity.
A Guest House is being refurbished, next to the winery and the vineyard, to accommodate our shareholders, journalists and buyers.