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treasures and where they are located

Viñas del Vero has access to one of the biggest expanses of vineyard in Spain, including 515Ha of its own vineyards and a further 500Ha that belong to trusted growers. We grow 14 different grape varieties in these vineyards – eight black and six white – spread between some 125 different estates and areas, all of which reflect a great diversity of soils, altitudes and climatic conditions.

The soils are on the whole poor, mountain soils, where quality vines have always been grown. The majority are stony and rich in lime, although in some instances the soil lies over tertiary era gypsum, in others it sits on top of quaternary period terraces as by the Vero and Cinca rivers, whilst elsewhere it lies over altered sandy rock. Most of these vineyards are south-facing and almost all are on slopes, some of which are steep.

As to the climate, the notable features are short, dry summers and long, cold winters with rainfall evenly spread across the year, albeit more abundant in spring and autumn. Exceptions to this are the north and higher altitudes of the Secastilla Valley, where indigenous vegetation denotes a mountain style climate and the vineyard displays subtle differences on account of the different climatic environment.

The San Marcos Vineyard

The San Marcos vineyard lies at 410 m above sea level, at 42º 3’ latitude N, 0º 5’longitude E. It is very close to the winery, which is in the town of Barbastro and is where we grow the grapes we use to make the Tradición de Viñas del Vero range.

The site is a terrace overlooking the Vero river and the soil sits over colluvial deposits, in other words material brought down by great rivers during phases of intense erosion. Here the soil is deep and contains a high proportion of coarse gravel that provides excellent drainage for the rainwater.

The Los Olivos Vineyard

The Los Olivos vineyard sits at 405 m above sea level, at 42º 3’ latitude N, 0º 5’longitude E. It is very close to the winery, which is in the town of Barbastro and here we grow Tempranillo, Syrah and Riesling grapes.

In geomorphological terms the site is a terrace above the Vero river and the soil is a calcisol over colluvial deposits (in other words the material brought down by great rivers during phases of intense erosion). The soil here is deep and contains a high proportion of coarse gravel that provides excellent drainage for the rainwater. The soil conditions are ideal for vigorous vine growth.

The El Enebro Vineyard

The El Enebro vineyard stands at an altitude of 420 m at 42o4’ latitude N, 0o6’ longitude E. It takes its name from the Junniperus Communis trees that surround the small, tucked away plots that make up this vineyard.

The soil is classified as a calcisol, which means it contains a build-up of carbonates. It has been created as a result of the evolutional alteration of sandy rock and there are also river terraces. On the whole the level of fertility of this soil is low, as is its capacity to retain water. Being on a slope promotes the drainage that the vines require.

Producing Gewürztraminer was a challenge that the Somontano D.O. set itself in its early days and the denomination, and specifically Viñas del Vero, is now Spain’s benchmark for the variety. We train the vines up high trellises facing East-West to avoid the sun damaging the small, delicate bunches.

The La Ponderosa Vineyard

This vineyard lies at an altitude of 460 m at 42o5’ latitude N, 0o6’ longitude E and sits on extremely poor soil: regosol on a hillside - what could be termed a classic place to grow vines.

The site is remote and steep and there areas that are not suitable for cultivation and are covered by holm oaks and scrub, with hidden ravines full of indigenous fauna.

In the La Ponderosa vineyard we grow a traditional Somontano grape variety – Moristel – and carefully selected White Garnacha. Both have adapted extremely well to the harsh conditions of what is a very demanding type of soil, with the result that yields are naturally very limited.

The El Ariño Vineyard

Lying up in the Salas Bajas mountains at an altitude of 455 m and at 42º 6’ latitude N longitude 0º 6’ E, this is the vineyard where we first started growing vines in 1986 and is on a hillside of the ravine that goes by the same name. Salas Bajas is a village 10Km from Barbastro, the heart of DO Somontano’s vineyards.

The soil in this vineyard is classified as calcareous regosol, a type of soil that has evolved very little and in which carbonates have accumulated. It is truly poor and the only vegetation it can support is scrub and woody crops such as olive trees, almond trees and vines, which have all been grown alternately over the last few centuries. This century it is the turn of vines, last century almond trees were grown and the century before, olive trees. The soil has been created by the erosion of sandstone, is of medium depth and drains well.

The Los Sasos Vineyard

The term “Saso” refers to a table-land, a flat, high place. This vineyard is in the village of Castillazuelo, at 440 m above sea level and at 42º 4’ latitude N, 0º 3’ longitude E. It was planted in 1988 and produces Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that display good levels of concentration.

The soil is hyper-calcareous calcisol over alluvial-colluvial quaternary deposits left by the river, which at the time had an impressive flowrate and carried rocks down from the Pyrenees, which assumed their typical pebble shape as they rolled.

Its location, higher up than the surrounding areas, means it is subjected to continuous moderate winds that help the vines stay healthy. The amount of stones in the soil protects the vines from frost and, along with the depth of the soil, means that any excess rainwater (an infrequent occurrence in any event) drains away easily.

The La Valle Vineyard

This vineyard lies at 410 m above sea level, at N de 42º 4’ latitude N, 0º 6’ longitude E. The soil here is deep, contains an accumulation of carbonates and is relatively poor.

It is easy to find as it is just outside the village of Salas Bajas, the epicentre of D.O. Somontano.

The locals remember that this vineyard has always been planted with vines and we currently grow the indigenous varieties that are most typical of the D.O. there: Parraleta and Moristel.

We have also wanted to respect tradition and so we still prune the vines in this vineyard in gobelet style, which how they used to be pruned before the new forms of viticulture were introduced. The grapes are therefore harvested by hand.

The La Demba Vineyard

“Demba” is a common place name in Somontano. It is the equivalent of “era” in the place names in Castilian, denoting a place near to the village where tools and other essentials that were not taken home at the end of the day’s work were left. This vineyard is opposite the La Valle vineyard, also at 410m above sea level, at 42º 4’ latitude N, 0º 6’ longitude E, and the soil similarly contains an accumulation of carbonates and is relatively poor.

This is one of our oldest vineyards and is planted with Syrah which, having spent a number of years adapting, now produces excellent grapes with high levels of concentration.

Our clones come from French selections grafted onto hardy rootstock that has adapted to the poor, calcareous soil. The vines are pruned to one shoot and trained on trellises.

The Pueyed Vineyard

This vineyard lies at an altitude of 428 m, at 42º 2’ latitude N, 0º 5’ longitude E, on a north-facing slope overlooking the river Vero, which significantly delays sprouting and the ripening of the grapes.

This is a vineyard that is completely surrounded by indigenous vegetation – holm oaks and kermes oaks, rockrose, thyme – wherever the steepness of the slopes makes it impossible to grow vines.

An additional feature of the site is the ruins that stand upon it and are part of a set of fortifications that were built between the first and second millennium, at the height of the battle between the Moors and the Christians. A scant 500m away stands the Pueyo Monastery, which affords an unmissable panoramic view over the whole of Somontano.

The Los Almendros Vineyard

The Los Almendros vineyard lies 405 m above sea level, at 41º 59’ latitude N, 0º 7’ longitude E.

The soil is haplic gypsisol, in other words soil that has evolved over marl and clay with an accumulation of carbonates. Also the soil is deep, in an area where there is an accumulation of fine-grained material and is relatively fertile within the parameters for Somontano.

We grow two white grape varieties here: Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The vineyards are irrigated and the canopy is managed so that the bunches are protected to a degree from the direct rays of the sun.

The Las Almunietas Vineyard

The Las Almunietas vineyard lies at an altitude of 435 m above sea level, is planted with Garnacha Tinta and Pinot Noir and is one of our youngest vineyards.

The soil is haplic gypsisol, in other words soil that has evolved over marl and clay with an accumulation of carbonates. This is poor soil by definition, with low water retention capability. It lies on a steep slope with a northerly aspect, which creates cool growing conditions for the vines that are planted here

Further to our previous experience with old vines on this site we have selected the clones we use here very carefully. In the case of the Pinot Noir, we use a quality clone from Bordeaux, whereas the Red Garnacha plants come from Côtes du Rhône.

The La Piedra Vineyard

The La Piedra vineyard is in the municipality of Barbastro at 415 m above sea level, at 41º 59’latitude N, 0º 7’ longitude E. It was first planted in 1987 and is the best site for our Chardonnay grapes.

The soil in this vineyard is unusual in that it is haplic gypsisol, in other words soil that has evolved over marl and clay with an accumulation of carbonates. This is poor soil by definition, with low water retention capability. It lies on a slope and is quite shallow, which significantly limits how vigorously the vines grow.

The intense and highly reflective white colour of the gypsum crystals means that the albedo (the proportion of the incident light or radiation that is reflected by a surface) is very high, which in turn means that the grapes ripen very fully.

We grow these vines on high trellises (up to 2.4m high) so that the bunches are shaded from the intense sunlight that falls on the leaves.

The Las Canteras Vineyard

The vineyard lies alongside the river Cinca 5 Km north of Barbastro, 425 m above sea level, at 42º 1’ latitude N, 0º 9’ longitude E, and here we grow Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

The soil is petric (compacted on the surface) cacisol (calcium rich), clayey with a lot of large stones. It is also deep, a feature that contributes to the colour, elegance and minerality of the wines produced from grapes grown here. As a terrace high above the river Cinca with a vertical drop of almost 100m, the vineyard is exposed to east-west winds that help the vines stay healthy and prevent the maximum temperatures from rising excessively high. The stones in the soil and the vineyard’s geographical location protect it from spring frosts.

The Guardia Vineyard

The Guardia vineyard lies in the Secastilla valley, at the foot of the Pyrenees. With the mountains rising just 40 Km away the vineyard is at an altitude of 710 m, at 42º 1’ latitude N, 0º 17’ longitude E. The winery’s emblematic vineyard, it was planted in the 1940’s, in a layout that is definitely respectful of the environment as it combines vines, olive trees and almond trees, the typical subsistence trio.

The viticultural wisdom inherited from that earlier generation led to the setting up of a vineyard of scarcely two hectares in which up to nine different grape varieties can be found, all mixed in with each other in the purest vine-growing tradition. There are red Garnacha grapes but also Mandón, Royal, Trepat and Vidadillo, amongst other vines that bear white varieties such as Alcañón, Alcañón Rojo (common) and Moscatel de Secastilla (common) – undoubtedly a diverse and telling collection that we are proud to be able to preserve.

The soil has formed over conglomerates in the top area of the valley and is deep, very stony and well drained. In terms of soil type it is a regosol, very poor mountain soil where only very hardy varieties such as our extremely resilient Garnacha can prosper.

The trees that surround the vineyard are “Quercus faginea” – gall oaks – instead of the classic Mediterranean stands of holm oaks, reflecting the fact that this is a transitional climatic zone between the Mediterranean climate and the Euro-Siberian climate of the Pyrenees.

The vines in this vineyard are gown organically and the work is carried out by hand. The vines are trained in low gobelet style and the nine varieties are inter-mixed. Yields are very low, at approximately one kilo per vine.

The Purruego Vineyard

Located in the Secastilla Valley at an altitude of 650 m and at 42º 10’ latitude N, 0º 16’ longitude E, the Purruego vineyard was planted in the year 2000 with selected Garnacha cuttings from Aragon grafted onto hardy rootstock and trained along trellises.

The soil is a colluvial infill: an accumulation of large stones brought down from higher up, in this case from the Pyrenees during which process, which took place during the Holocene period, as the slopes flattened out and the large stones lost speed the intermediate size stones accumulated. This is moderately deep soil that is very permeable on account of it being on a slope, in other words typical hillside soil.

The fact that the vineyard is south facing and is exposed to the east-west movement of the sun plays an important part in how the Garnacha grapes we grow here develop, as they are exposed to very strong sunshine that enables them to reach the required levels of ripeness over their long growing cycle.

The Almunias Vineyard

The Almunias vineyard lies at 600m above sea level, at the far end of the Secastilla Valley, at 42º 10’ latitude N, 0º 17’ longitude E.

The feminine name of this vineyard is a reference to a traditional Secastilla home or family unit. The names are feminine because property passes down through the maternal line, a unique characteristic of this area designed to avoid property being lost on the female side of the family.

The soil is a valley floor into which a very powerful river flowed, depositing fine-grained elements that were subsequently subjected to pressure as the land folded, lifting it up and forming a diapir during the Keuper period. These are deep, highly malleable soils composed of variously coloured clays, marls and even red gypsums.

The location of this valley floor between two huge bodies of water (the Barasone dam across the river Esera and the El Grado dam across the river Cinca), together with its relative altitude provide the ideal microclimate for this grape variety to ripen in as daytime temperatures are not too high.

The vines in this vineyard are gown organically and trained along trellises oriented so as to prevent the sun shining directly onto the bunches.