Bodegas Vivanco has finished a new campaign of its winter harvest, a collection of dehydrated tempranillo, garnacha and mazuelo grapes with which they make a very coveted wine in the market: Colección Vivanco 4 Varietales Dulce de Invierno.
Usually, these grapes are harvested by hand in December or January, but this year’s 2023 harvest was one of the latest in history, taking place on the morning of 25 January, on a day when the temperature was between 0º and 5º Celsius and the northwest wind was 13 kilometres per hour.
In this very special harvest, a team of 30 workers meticulously harvested the grapes at the Finca El Cantillo. They were accompanied by a typical winter scene, with vineyards still covered in snow, protected by the Sierra de Cantabria mountain range and surrounding the winery and the Vivanco Museum of Wine Culture.
The cold, clear skies and the ghostly and beautiful mists so characteristic of this part of La Rioja Alta are the necessary ingredients for this iconic Bodegas Vivanco wine. In fact, the morning mists, thanks to the proximity of the Ebro River, together with the good drainage of the soil and the cold, dry Cierzo wind, result in the slow development of noble rot (Botrytis cinerea fungus) in the grapes, which increases the aromatic complexity, sugar concentration and acidity of the future wine.
This delicious limited edition wine, made with 40% Garnacha, 40% Mazuelo and 10% Graciano and Tempranillo, recovers the tradition of Rioja’s supurados wines. A nod to the time when winegrowers used to store the grapes they consumed at Christmas in the attics of their houses. The leftover bunches were pressed and subjected to a fermentation process in demijohns or other containers. After several months, a wine with a high residual sugar content was obtained. Sweet and fresh, due to the acidity it retained, it became the dessert drink on festive days or as a medicinal wine, due to its high value as a restorative.
The research carried out by Rafael Vivanco and his team over the years has added to the wisdom of the past the innovation of the present, the knowledge of the microclimatic and soil conditions of the Finca El Cantillo vineyard in Briones and the behaviour of each variety. In fact, one of the curiosities of this late harvest is the weight that each type of grape is losing over time. In the case of Tempranillo and Graciano, it is reduced by 75%, and in the case of Garnacha and Mazuelo, the loss is 60%. To this must be added the low yield of juice. Mathematics, therefore, do not fail in the vineyard: compared to other Bodegas Vivanco wines, to make Colección Vivanco 4 Varietales Dulce de Invierno, the grapes needed to make the wine must be multiplied by a factor of ten. The result of this wine, which is presented in a limited edition of no more than 2,000 37.5 cl. bottles, is surprising.