Bodegas Protos, derived from the Greek word for ‘first’, co-founded the revered Ribera del Duero appellation and has been making wines here since 1927. Staying true to their motto, origin above all, Protos pushes for new winemaking frontiers while prizing the wines’ sense of place.
Rueda is one of Spain’s oldest regions, dating back to the Middle Ages. In the 11th century, King Alfonso I designated the land for viticulture and divided it among winemaking settlers and monastic orders. From this time, the region was almost exclusively planted with Verdejo vines. Rueda’s white wines went on to become a court favourite of the Catholic Kings.
After arriving in Rueda in 2006, it took Protos’ winemakers over a decade to find their ideal terroirs – searching across the appellation for the finest expression of Verdejo. Protos has divided its vineyards into individual parcels based on their age and terroir, in order to create fine-tuned Verdejo blends in the winery.
Not all Verdejo is created equal. Protos does things differently, thus:
- Production is limited to 8,000 kg/ha – that’s 2,000 kg/ha under the appellation’s maximum allowance. Smaller production protects the unique character of the Verdejo gape and permits winemakers to be more selective.
- Harvesting takes place at night and carbonic ice is added to minimise oxidation, preserving Verdejo’s primary fruit flavours in the glass.
- To capture the essence of each Rueda terroir, the parcels are fermented separately using indigenous yeast from the vineyard.
- Winemakers practice minimal intervention, using their new non-invasive press and a tangential flow filter to create a more natural wine style.
- The wines spend three months ageing on their fine lees, with the help of specially developed micro-agitators.
- Each vat is taste tested by the winemakers for quality – those that don’t meet their standards are discarded and only the best wines make it into the final blend.
Grapes for the Verdejo Reserva come from vineyards planted 25 years ago at a height between 700 and 800 meters with small yields and manual harvest in 20kg boxes.
Fermentation takes place in French oak barrels (50% new, 50% second-fill), and aged on own lees in those same barrels for approximately 8 months. Subsequently, it is aged in the bottle for 16-18 months.
Appearance: Straw yellow colour, somewhat more raised than the young Verdejo, due to the year and a half of aging. Bright and clean.
Nose: Aroma of high intensity, with notable complexity due to the perfect blend between the fruit of the variety (herbaceous, tropical, slightly citric) and the soft toast of the barrels (vanilla and fine notes of pastries).
Mouth: Dry, fullsome wine, with volume and structure, which at the same time preserves freshness thanks to its good acidity. Long, expressive and persistent.