The Hermanos Sastre winery is located in a château in the heart of the Ribera del Duero. The winery is home to vineyards ranging from 30-65 years old, where a low yield of grapes grow, but each with a high concentration of flavour. The brothers, who have forever been surrounded by viticulture, cherish all of their assets to produce wines of extraordinary dimensions.
It all began with the brothers’ grandfather, Severiano, a farmer from La Horra (Burgos), eight kilometres from Roa de Duero. Using plots scattered around, he managed for gather around 30 hectares before the Civil War and began to produce wines in the underground caverns of La Horra. Then in 1957, with the emergence of cooperatives, Severiano, together with a group of enterprising winemakers, set up the Virgen de la Asuncion wine cooperative.
Little by little, with the profits of selling grapes, he bought more land and planted more vines in the surrounding areas, along with his son Rafael, who by age twelve was helping cultivate the vineyards and carry out the harvest. After a few years Rafael Sastre bought the legendary Teofilo Reyes house, situated in the Ribera del Duero, moving to Valladolid. Rafael soon decided that he needed another source of income from the business of selling grapes, and soon set up a fishmongers business.
It is worth noting that the price of grapes in the sixties and seventies was notably low, resulting in many farmers replacing their vines with cereal crops, which were more profitable. However, in La Horra it was thankfully not easy to change crops, since the Ministery of Agriculture never managed to land consolidation. Also, almost all of the wines that were produced by the cooperatives in the area were Rosé, but by luck, in the ´80’s the Ribera underwent a massive change, and began producing red wines, becoming the regions trademark, and leading to the official recognition of the D.O. Ribera del Duero.
It was in 1992 when Rafael finally accomplished his childhood dream, leaving the cooperative and founding his own business, the Bodegas Hermanos Sastre, accompanies by his two sons, Peter and Jesus Maria. Together they began to market their own wine, which they decided to name Viña Sastre.
Using savings and bank loans, the winery invested in a small press, a pair of stainless steel tanks, a few American oak barrels, a few staff, as well as the winemaker from the cooperative for analytical controls of the first few wines. The first vintage of Viña Sastre was produced with the 1992 harvest, although it was almost experimental, with only a few bottles produced.
During this time, Rafael and his son Jesus Maria were in charge of the land and the vineyards, while Pedro led the fishmongers as well as the company’s marketing. The harvests of `93, ’94 and ´95 were also scarce, until the ’96 harvest produced 160,000 bottles of wine, which was structured, powerful, fruity and loaded with nerve and personality. With the newfound success, Peter finally closed the fishmongers, and focused his efforts exclusively on the commercial work of the winery. The winery then saw the construction of a new and authentic cellar, with a capacity for 300,000 bottles. After the death of Rafael in 1998, and Pedro scarcely four years later, Jesus Maria was left to take the reins of the winery with the unconditional support of his sister Isabel Chico, as well as his colleague and friend, Eugenio Bayón, who is in charge of management.
The secret behind the wines by the Hermanos Sastre is the prime location of their vineyards, as well as their production methods, the respect of the land, the minimal use of chemicals, and a water treatment system used to wash the barrels and other processes, which ensures that the wines are free of any bacteria, which can course off odors or tastes in the wines.
The winery is currently home to 45 hectares of vineyards, which come under the D.O. Ribera del Duero. The vineyards are home to various soil varieties, although the majority of the vineyards are home to calcareous clay soils. The various plots of vineyards are home to different soils, grape varieties and ages of vinífera. The Tinta del Pais grape is the most prominent, grown on vines between 50 -100 years, while Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are also grown.
All of the vineyards are worked and cultivated using organic and biodynamic viticultural techniques from day one, with the idea being that the quality of the soil and the individuality of each plant is reflected in the wine. In this way the quality of the grapes is not reduced at any stage. The whole process is natural, and the theory put into practice is a complete rejection of the use of any type of mineral fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, pesticides as well as any inorganic chemical products.
Set in the heart of the Ribera, in the Burgalese town of La Horra, the winery is surrounded by vineyards. The whole set up resembles a châteu, an the French influence is evident throughout the estate. Following the traditions of the French chateaus, the winery has divided its cask cellar into two. The casks destined for their great wines such as Regina Vides, Pago de Santa Cruz, and Pesus are all aged in one section. The other section contains the casks for the younger oak aged wine and the crianza wine, Viña Sastre Roble and Viña Sastre Crianza. The winery is currently home to 800 French and American oak barrels, and producing around 250,000 bottles annually.
Wines by Bodegas Hermanos Sastre.
Bodegas Hermanos Sastre, known as Viñas Sastre, currently produces 5 different wines, all of which are red.
Viña Sastre Roble. This is a single variety wine made exclusively with the Tempranillo grape, taken from the youngest vineyards of the estate, between 17-30 years old. The wine is aged for 10 months in American oak barrels. The nose of powerful and complex with notes of wild fruits and red berries, with slight mineral notes. It is a balanced wine, with a soft yet fruity profile, and is very easy and pleasant to drink.
Viña Sastre Crianza. Another single variety Tempranillo wine, made with grapes grown on vines between 20-60 years old, on plots near Roa. This wine is aged for 14 months in new oak barrels. Very complex on the nose, with highlights of black fruit, cocoa, toasted wood and spicy tones of cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper. The wine is powerful yet soft on the palate, sweet, very fruity, with slight toasting and aromatic woods and a long and complex finish.
Regina Vides. This wine is made exclusively with Tempranillo grapes, taken from the vineyards of Regina, the mother of Isabel. The vineyard is situated at around 815 metres above sea level. The wine is aged for 18 months in French and American oak barrels, and production never exceeds 6,000 bottles per harvest. It is a wine with complex aromas, with highlights of ripe fruit, with toasted and mineral notes. On the palate, it is powerful, flavourful, very fruity, full-bodied, with strong tannins. It also has notes of fruit compote and mint and herbaceous.
Viña Sastre Pago de Santa Cruz Reserva. This wine is made exclusively with the Tempranillo grape variety, grown on 65 year old vines in the Santa Cruz estate. This wine is aged for 18 months in new American oak barrels. On the nose the wine is very complex, with nuances of candied and liquored red fruit, with notes of minerals, fresh balsamic on a toasted background, with hints of cocoa butter. On the plate this wine is flavourful and very well structures, with hints of red fruit and leather, with eastern woods and strong tannins, soft and ripe, but with weight, sign of a great wine with a long life ahead.
VIña Sastre Pago Santa Cruz Gran Reserva. A single variety Tempranillo, with the grapes taken from the same Santa Cruz estate, but from vines that are between 60-100 years old. This wine is aged for over 20 months in French oak barrels.
Persus. This wine was first produced from the 1999 harvest, and is perhaps the star of the wines offered by the Sastre winery. The name is a blend of the brothers names’, Pedro and Jesus Maria. This wine is only made during exceptional vintages, and is a blend of three different grape varieties: Tinta del País (80%) and Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon (the other 20%). Production of Persus does not exceed 1,800 per year. Following tradition, the family is personally in charge of harvesting the plots used, on the Valdelayegua, Cañuelo, Carranguix and Bercial vineyards. The wine is aged for a mínimum of 22 months in new French oak barrels. The wine is complex and powerful on the nose, with fruity aromas of prunes, roasted coffee and balsamic Woods, with a mineral background, along with hints of spicy cinnamon and pepper and vanilla. On the palate this wine is elegant, tasty and full-bodied, with strong long-lasting tannins, it is consistently expressive. In short, this is a wine that does not leave anything to spare.