La Hormiga plot, located in Quintanilla de Tres Barrios and the Hoyo plot in Matanza, grows old Tinto Fino vines from Soria own by David Hernando. The clayey, calcareous soil of the north river Duero side offers the ideal conditions to grow this great Tinto Fino “reserva” from Soria.
Grape variety: Tinto Fino.
Age: Planted in 1922.
Soil: Red clay (as in Roland Garros clay courts) ground with clayey subsoil.
Altitude: 950 meters high.
Appellation: DO Ribera del Duero.
Harvest: 12 to 15 October 2018.
Maceration: 16 days.
Crianza: 17 months in 225-liter French barrels in 43% new.
Bottled: June 2020.
Production 2018: 18.900 bottles and 952 magnums.
Vintage 2018: A four-season year at last!
In 2018 we observe the passing of the four-season year in the vineyard in Soria.
Winter was cold with intense rains, a lot of snow in January, February, March and even on 10 and 11 April. The vegetation woke up as usual, the almond trees flourished on 3 April and the bud break was noted on 27 April.
Spring was characterized by rains, cold and the frosts which happened from 1 to 13 May. That situation provoked important changes in the growing rhythms of the plants.
The winter weather lasted until the middle of June. On 19 June, sun and summer weather appeared as a consequence, the vines started to flourish on 21 June, this cycle lasted until the beginning of July.
In summer there were moderate temperatures (30oC) and this season was marked by rains and some scattered storms. This condition made the plants grow and improve their vegetative rhythms until the end of July (normally the vegetation stops its natural growth at the beginning of July). Thus, this situation is more typical in an Atlantic vegetative cycle than in the Ribera del Duero.
From August to October the weather was dry with normal temperatures and many sunny days. This provoked a slow ripening and the making of complex aromas in the Tinto Fino. The weather in the vintage 2018 gave a nice atmosphere and a vegetative quantity in the Soria vines. Consequently, their wines show generosity and intensity in nose with hints of red fruits together with refreshing vegetal notes and a smooth mouth-feel.
Harvest: 26 September 2017.
Maceration: 16 days.
Crianza: 18 months in 225liter French barrels with 63% new.
Bottled: 15 July 2019.
Production 2017: 12.023 bottles and 300 magnums.
2017, an early and dry year
The vintage 2017 was marked by widespread frosts and by a reduced production in Spain. However, in the area of Soria, due to the usual late sprouting, the production could be partially saved.
Winter was dry and not very cold. Spring was dry with cool minimum temperatures. There was a stepped sprouting from April 20 until May 5.
Flowering was very quick between June 5 and 12. Having this in mind, we could anticipate that ripening would be homogenous and the harvest quick. And that was it.
Just before the beginning of summer, at the end of June, there was an unusual heat wave with temperatures reaching 38oC for a period of 15 days. This situation meant that the grapes acquired a thick peel and had little pulp.
July came with usual high temperatures. Low temperatures were quite cold and we had 70 liters of rain on the 7, 8 and 9 July, which we were looking forward to. We had an early veraison; it started 25 July, 15 days earlier than expected.
August had hot days and cool nights. We had 50 liters of rain on 27, 28 and 29, which allowed to keep the plants fresh despite the general drought in 2017.
Despite a drought that lasted two years.-2016 and 2017-, the old vines produced balanced and fine grapes thanks to a reasonable productivity. The vintage 2017 offered density, unctuous texture tannins, vividness thanks to the climate of Soria.
Harvest: 19 and 20 October 2016.
Oak ageing process: 15 months of aging in French Darnajou barrels (50% new, 50% half-new from one or two wines) and Taransaud barrels (50% new, 50% half-new from one or two wines).
Bottled: By March 2018.
Production 2016: 13.000 bottles.
La Hormiga 2016
The 2016 vintage was a kind gift from nature in terms of quality and quantity. It reminds us the 1990 and 1982 vintages in France which were mythical.
Rain season was scarce although in the important moments it rained little but enough to give way to the vintage.
In our winery notebook, we wrote down with surprise the rose coming in January due to the high winter temperatures and we had to wait for March to feel the first cold and, then, snow in the following month.
However, the vine sprouting happened on the 29 April as it is still current. The whim of nature with new cold postponed the flowering till the end of June. Summer had no rains and the remarkable temperature variations made the vineyard control its metabolism.
September rains made the ripening processes be relaunched, carrying the created substances from the vine to the grapes all along the summer.
La Hormiga vintage 2016 is more spontaneous, subtle and skillful than the last 2015 and 2014 vintages. It gives aromas of violet, red berries and spices like vanillla and cinnamon in nose. On the palate, as usual, it is voluptuous and creamy, with a velvet tannin finish.
Harvest: 6 October 2015.
Crianza: 18 months in French barrels from de Darnajou (50% new).
Bottled: 12 July 2017.
Production 2015: 2.512 bottles and 102 magnums.
La Hormiga 2015
The snow covered the rockiest parts of Somosierra and the and the Picos de Urbión. Under cooler conditions than previous years, the vineyard began to get out of its hibernating state in February with the “weeping”, the first living manifestation of the vine.
The sprouting took place on 3 May, following a very hot week. However, the strength of the plants were tested by the sudden temperature change in the last week of May.
In summer, the veraison took place on 28 July. During these days, some temperature drops, noted among the 20 and the 28 at 15ºC at night, allowed the vine to gain strength. With regard to the rains, we noted 30 liters on the 21 July and 43 liters on 24 August, rainwater which stopped the growing cycle and supported the homogeneous growth of the vineyard as a whole.
September was at normal temperature, but with more moderate maximum temperature than usual. In the very beginning of autumn, frosts on the vineyard were seen on the 19 and 24 day. This situation with cool mornings and nights preserving the grape flavors is very common in this Soria part of the Ribera del Duero DO.
In spite of the extreme summer conditions, the fruit of the vine had ripened smoothly. The spring frosts reduced the volume of grape in the vineyard and encouraged the ripening process of the grapes.
La Hormiga 2015 is the result of this vintage features and, at the same time, this tinto crianza acquires more complexity because this is the first time that the vineyards from La Hormiga traditional plot joins its breeding part with El Hoyo plot, these forces of the nature are melted in this wine.
With a slow maturation and fermentation, the wine La Hormiga needed 18 months of aging in French Darnajou barrels (50% new) to express its velvety, delicate nature and the sensation of depth at the end of the mouth typical of a ‘Reserva’.
Year of vintage 2014
In Soria 2014 began with a cool, constant and long winter. The almond trees started to blossom on 10 March, when it is normally in late January.
The spring was warm and dry, noting 26ºC on 3 April. As a consequence, the vines began budding on 17 April, 10 days early.
We had a brush with disaster on 2, 3 and 4 May with temperatures below zero, although this did not affect the vines.
The spring drought delayed the growth cycle of the vines a little and we noted flowering on 16 June.
The summer continued with the dry trend. Nevertheless, the temperatures were moderate during July and August, which stopped the vines going into a state of stress.
The veraison lasted the whole month of August.
During the first seven days of September there was a heat wave that launched the maturation processes. The key to 2014 was the fact that after mid-September the cool temperatures and some rains created optimum conditions for the bunches to ripen as the plants were rehydrated, and had already recovered from the year of drought.
La Hormiga 2014. Parker 92.
La Hormiga 2014. Guía Peñín 93.