Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez

Timeless Brilliance from one of the Legendary Estates of Spain

Alejandro Fernández’s Pesquera is, of course, one of the legendary Estates of Spain. It was under this label that Alejandro Fernández made the 100% Tempranillo wines that first launched the Ribera del Duero region onto the world stage. He established Pesquera in 1972 and the resulting critical acclaim was instrumental in the Ribera de Duero receiving official D.O. status in 1982. Pesquera also rose to international fame after Robert Parker described the 1982 Tinto Pesquera as “the Spanish Château Petrus”. Perceptions of the region changed forever. One of Spain’s true wine pioneers, Alejandro Fernández passed away in May 2021 at the age of 88.

Having proven that you didn’t need to be Vega Sicilia to produce world-class wine in Ribera, in the mid-1980s, Fernandez established a second property on the steep banks of the Duero between Roa and La Horra. Abandoned for years, the slope had consisted of hundreds of small parcels with separate and stubborn ownership. Following three years of persuasive consolidation, Condado de Haza christened its first vintage in 1988.

These are wines of timeless popularity built around a fulcrum of ripe and silky fruit, classical tannins and the freshness of the continental climes where Fernández worked until his very last years.

Unstoppable, in 1998 Fernandez purchased a ranch in Zamora (which also produces olive oil, cheese and chickpeas). Dehesa la Granja is sited at an altitude above the Guareña River, just outside the boundaries of the Toro region.

Alejandro’s approach was always to emphasize the extraordinary fruit intensity gifted by his high-altitude, limestone-rich vineyards. The wines are made almost entirely from bush vine Tinta del Pais, the local name given to Ribera’s own thick-skinned, wilder mutation of Tempranillo. Over the years, the practices have remained staunchly traditional: hand harvests; foot-treading; and maturation for years in an astute blend of French, Spanish and American oak barrels. All the wines are well cellared before release.

The wines of Alejandro Fernández remain some of the very finest of their genre, part of a select group of deliciously enduring, thought-provoking Spanish wines that have one foot firmly planted in the old school and the other in modern Europe.

There is a hands-off, long-aging complexity to these wines that confidently points to the past rather than the current zeitgeist where everything is bright and jubey. The Spanish have a lovely, quirky saying—'no hay que buscarle tres pies al gato’—which translates as ‘don’t search for three legs on a cat’, or, in Australian vernacular, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

The Range

Pesquera Ribera del Duero Reserva 2019
Added

Pesquera Ribera del Duero Reserva 2019

Unlike that of the other legendary Ribera Estate, Vega Sicilia, Pesquera’s Reserva is made entirely from Tinta del Pais—the local name given to Ribera’s own thick-skinned version of Tempranillo. Sourced from the estate’s oldest vines and aged for 14 months in oak (followed by 12 months in bottle), the Pesquera Reserva is significantly more intense, powerful and complex than their Tinto Crianza. The Fernández' team have been known to drop 50% of the fruit on the vines to bring added concentration. The style balances the power and complexity of these low yields with the classic high-grown freshness of the region. The result is a very fine, bright and floral wine with super-complex cherry, dark chocolate and earthy notes. It's highly aromatic and savoury, with a long, driven and powerful close loaded with powdery tannins.

The style balances the power and complexity of these low yields with the classic high-grown freshness of the region. The result is a very fine, bright and floral wine with super-complex cherry, dark chocolate and earthy notes. It's highly aromatic and savoury, with a long, driven and powerful close loaded with powdery tannins.

Pesquera Ribera del Duero Reserva 2019
Added

“…it was not until the mid 1980s that another, an agricultural machinist Alejandro Fernández of Bodegas Pesquera, managed to establish the region as a viable source of high-quality, long-lived, concentrated, deep-coloured wines.” Jancis Robinson MW

Country

Spain

Primary Region

Ribera del Duero, Castilla y Leon

People

Winemakers: Rodrigo Pons & the Fernández Rivera family

Availability

National

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