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Bertrand Sourdais and his sites in Soria’s side of Ribera del Duero

12/04/2018 Wineries

A few days ago, during one of our getaways to try Ribera del Duero wines, we visited one of the most renowned vinedressers with the most personality of the region, Bertrand Sourdais. Sourdais, of French origin, comes from a family of winemakers from Chinon, in Loire, one of our favourite regions for its more than remarkable Cabernet Francs. Currently, he works both in the family winery in France, Domaine de Pallus, and in the province of Soria, where he has a passion: the conservation and promotion of the old vineyards in the area.

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His beginnings in Soria’s side of Ribera del Duero date back to 2000, when they contacted him to create a new winery, Dominio de Atauta. During the first years, Sourdais studied the potential of the different soils of this sub-area of the Duero, as well as the climate, which is more special, colder and drier than in other areas of the region. Throughout these years, this Frenchman has become a true expert of the features of the surroundings of Soria.

Bertrand welcomed us in the morning, in the unique municipality of San Esteban de Gormaz. After a brief introduction to the characteristics of the territory, he invited us to visit the places where the wines Antídoto and Dominio de Es come from. Antídoto is the project he shares with his partner, David, a patient and knowledgeable man of the area who complements him perfectly.

We started our journey through the vineyards, planted on the same clayey-ferrous soils as they use in Roland Garros. Here, we found very old vineyards that nicely complement the variety Tinta Fina from old clones. In this area, Sourdais seeks a more classic profile of Ribera del Duero, and what he calls the Hormiga de Antídoto, literally the Ant of Antídoto. These wines have a lot of volume, prepared to withstand long ageing periods.

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After a long conversation on how the vines needed to ‘feel’ to yield their best grapes, and on the importance of the existence of poplars or some humidity for their well-being, we continue our journey —walking up and down the hills on rural tracks— until we reached another area with soils that were completely different. The boulders and the sand replaced the hard-packed clay of Roland Garros. This is where Antídoto is born. It is a light wine based on the philosophy of drinking wine as a daily routine.

Among the Antídoto projects, we want to give a special mention to rosé wines. These are not ordinary rosé wines. They are specifically profiled from the vineyard, where it was quite usual to plant white and red varieties together. This fact, added to the prevailing presence of granite and sand in the ground, gives us one of the most authentic rosé wines of the Iberian peninsula: electric, complex and saline. Le Rose de Antidoto, Grand Cru.

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To finish our visit, we went to the village of Atauta. Atauta is a unique place, where time stops and you can smell the tradition. When we took a look from its  viewpoint, we could obviously see that something special linked this place to the history of viticulture; the views of the small old presses where they used to ferment the wine are spectacular.

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In this landscape is where Bertrand has his other project, Dominio de EsDominio de Es. The valley acts as the central axis where he has made his ‘vino de paraje’ and where after almost 20 years working in the area, he has created his two grand crus. Each one of those Crus is between larger plots, but there are certain areas where there is clay, and a specific orientation and breeze, that makes them unique. La Diva is one of those Crus touched by all those factors that make it special and unique. Very light red fruit, a lot of tension, long and endless.

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After the great tour through almost all the old vineyards of Soria, and after a few anecdotes, we headed on to interpret what we had seen at the winery. Certainly, each one showed its full potential in its typology. As a good vinedresser, Bertrand has known how to extract the best from each of the sites, making each wine develop in one direction. Each type of soil and each microclimate translates into the different wines he proposes.

It was certainly a great experience to discover this sub-area of ​​Ribera de Duero with Bertrand Sourdais. A person with a special sensitivity towards the vineyard, the surroundings, and the wine. In his hands, the legacy of the area is assured. Congratulations!

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