Onward and Upward: Ribera del Duero in the 21st Century

  • —A Return to the High Slopes—

Following Reconquest of the Duero in the 10th through 12th Centuries, monastic orders quickly expanded upon early Roman and Visigothic viticulture, finding ideal conditions for vines and cereals along the banks of Duero River tributaries and in the surrounding high fields, or páramos.

After the phylloxera devastation, replanting in the 20th Century focused on the Duero Valley floor and its more easily arable land.

In the 21st Century, climate change has revived interest in the high slopes and streams for the lower natural pH levels and greater freshness of fruit obtained, along with fully ripe tannins.

The two superb family estates below serve as a reaffirmation of the founding philosophy of Classical Wines (and Bonafide® Wine Estates)  from 1984:

“Authentic regional wines from grower estates, with a special emphasis on indigenous cool-climate viticulture.”

Dominio Basconcillos-Viña Magna, Villalbilla de Gumiel (Burgos). Established 2000.

125-acre contiguous estate on an undulating slope at the most northern extreme of the region overlooking the Río Gromejón at 3300 feet elevation. Local Tinta del País clones were field-grafted. Certified organic, extremely low-yield viticulture on the clay and chalk soils gives concentrated, fleshy and intense wines. “Grand Cru Ribera del Duero for the 21st Century!’


Familia Díaz Bayo, Fuentelcésped (Burgos). 10th Generation Family Estate.

100-acre estate in a subregion defined by the Arroyo de la Nava, with parcels ranging from 2800 to 3200 feet and vines from 12 to 100 years old. Organically farmed Tinta del País is grown on clay and limestone soils of varying exposures. Bright, mineral, transparent and terroir-driven red wines are produced.


Happiest New Year wishes as we begin our 33rd vintage!!



Author: shm

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