The 2017 vintage was awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details and review).
For other 2020 DWWA winners, click here.
Exel tasting note, esp for previous buyers:
The Protos "27", although made with great precision, is produced firmly in the modern Ribera/Rioja idiom: concentrated, riper, with darker/blacker fruit and a focus on greater immediacy and earlier drinking than the older style, classic Reservas and Gran Reservas.
That central purpose of the "27" continues in the 2017. It should not be overstated, however: this wine will drink very well to 10 years from vintage and is a wine of great precision, high grape quality, superb elevage/oaking. It simply remains a departure from the Protos reds of the past.
The 2015 was a true truck-stopper of a vintage in terms of power and ripeness: for some customers it was the apotheosis of immediacy and, for some, a little 'jammy'. It was hugely popular with most and is still in awesome condition for drinking ... for those that still have it!
The 2016 was altogether more refined, restrained and elegant; it had more structure, was redder in fruit nature and its dials were set back into a 'safer' set of flavour ranges. Again, this too should not be overstated: it was still a Ribera/Protos of greater immediacy.
2017 sat somewhere between the two: more full-on and intense than the 2016 but not quite as 'unhinged' as the 2015. Although 2017 was not a great vintage in Ribera generally, the "27" 2017 is probably the 'Goldilocks' Porridge' (ie just right) of Protos "27"s and the flavour profile that Protos most envisaged when releasing the "27" in 2014.
2018 is very similar to 2017 - another "just right" vintage that shows good ripeness and plush tannins, but still with good acidity and without having veered into jamminess. The Exel team think it actually to be better than the 2017. Personally, I'd say it needs a little more time - just a few months - in bottle for oak and fruit to meld together a little more, but that is always true of the "27" at this early point after its release.
See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.
Protos "27" 2018 - fiche technique
See also our Protos visit and wines blog.
Protos have made an excellent 1-minute video clip about the "27" - click here - highly recommended.
To commemorate their 90th anniversary and their first vintage, Protos have recovered their first label for a very special (yet very affordable) release, following 10 years of research in a) viticultural techniques, b) oak barrel characterization and c) indigenous /natural yeasts.
These have emerged and resulted in this unique fine wine. The project researching indigenous yeastshas been one of the most ambitious ones in the history of Bodegas Protos. The objective: using their own yeasts allows the expression in this wine of the real characteristics of Tinto Fino (the local name for the Ribera del Duero clone of Tempranillo) and their different vineyards.
The Tinto Fino comes from from vineyards in excess of 50 years of age and at an altitude of around 850m, located in the Roa-La Horra–Anguix triangle, where the oldest known plots of Ribera del Duero are planted. Soils are clay-based, with occasional chalky concretions.
Hand harvested in small crates of 20 kg. Grapes were cold stored before the selection of the best bunches by hand at two sorting tables. After a few days of pre-fermentation, skin contact/cold maceration (to obtain the most delicate aromas available), alcoholic fermentation took place in 15,000 kg stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 25ºC. After 3 weeks of fermentation and maceration, pumping over/pigeage of the wine several times a day, the wine was stored in premium French oak barrels, where malolactic fermentation took place.
The Protos "27" was aged for 16 months in new French oak barrels and then one year in the bottle in the winery.
100% Tempranillo (Tinta del Pais).
The Protos '27 is intense, complex and elegant on the nose, with a broad range of aromas: black fruit (esp plums/damsons), toasted and vanilla notes; these are well integrated with tertiary aromas like toffee and liquorice. In the mouth its persistence, concentration, roundness and balance reveal a high-end wine for long-term aging that will improve in the bottle for a good time (estimated 10 years).