All the vineyards owned by Casar de Burbia are located in the area of the Valtuille de Arriba mountain, alongside the Camino de Santiago. We have 26 hectares of mountain vineyards, which we always work manually according to the soil conditions. The vineyards have been converted to organic, and treatments have been reduced to a minimum in recent years. The general characteristics of our vineyards correspond to the mountain slope typology (15-35%) where they are located.
The winery's vineyard is divided into 52 plots, although there are six that stand out from the rest and are especially important to our family. Because all these vineyards are in the mountains they have high, mid, and lowlands, a fundamental piece to understanding Casar de Burbia.
This vineyard is where it all started, because it was fundamental to defining the direction this small family winery would go with its project. The vineyard was planted in 1903 and the first generation of Casar de Burbia, through its founder Nemesio Fernández Bruña, brought it back to winegrowing life. It is a two and a half hectare plot of old Mencía goblet vines. We call this vineyard the quiet vineyard. Here at dawn, the overwhelming sight of the vineyard inspires silence. Its highland is barely half a hectare. This part is vinified separately to shape our Tebaida 5, an iconic wine for us.
If we had to pick a word to define it, it would be "balance". Although we know it as the ugly vineyard, we also know it for its constant quality. It never gives us any scares. It's as if it were predestined to produce quality in spite of the year's inclemency. It's an old vineyard, over 70 years old, and has just the right amount of vigour. Its 0.4 hectares of highlands produce the grapes that will form our second tebaida, Nemesio. In 1998 we regrafted 10% of Mencía in Palomino. Like Viña Sapita, it has an eastern orientation, towards the sunrise. Its top is crossed throughout the year by a steady stream of pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.
This one's a rascal: it demands constant attention to give us its best. The goblet vineyard is located south of Valdepiñeiro, in a sunny spot with very poor soils. Its highlands are at the limit of cultivation, which has forced us to regenerate its losses on more than one occasion. It's an old fashioned vineyard since we have kept all of its natural ecosystem, surrounded by cherry trees, pines, and holm oaks. This vineyard is very much alive. The Valdaiga stream winds through its lowlands forming a winding riverside habitat, enriching the microbiology and its ecosystem.
This is a five and a half hectare vineyard located in a small valley that runs east to west, with the valley floor in the centre and cut in two by the Valdaiga stream. The highlands are cultivated in goblet form and the lowlands in trellis to encourage competition in the area with more organic matter. It has a western orientation (sunset) and the presence of Godello and Mencía on the same spot makes it look like a watercolour in spring and autumn with yellows on the eastern strip and greens and reds on the other side, where the Mencía is. You enter this plot through a steep hill on the way to Santiago de Compostela that forces pilgrims stop to rest and discover one of the most picturesque points of the Camino on their way through the region. It is an estate with rich diversity, is easy to work with, and allows us to harvest in a staggered fashion.
This is our secret vineyard garden, two hectares of goblet Mencía whose planting has faded from memory but is an estimated hundred years old. Everything about it is spectacular. It is a magical place and work here doesn't feel like work at all, because the vineyard regulates itself, as long as we know how to read its vegetation and pruning needs. The 0.3 hectares of its highland give us our wine El Castañal. Its lowlands and southern edge borders the Camino de Santiago and is surrounded by the native flora of the El Bierzo region.
Eight hectares of trellis vineyards containing Mencía in the mid and lower parts and Godello in the high parts. The vineyard is located between two hills, which leaves us two high areas we especially value where we cultivate a picture-perfect Godello. The highest parts, at around 850 metres, are at the limit of the region's cultivation, but their quality and uniqueness is supreme. It is one of the highest vineyards in Valtuille de Arriba and from the top you can see all of the El Bierzo Bajo, the Roman fortified settlement of Castroventosa, the Roman mines of Las Médulas, as well as the mountains of the El Bierzo Tebaida.
LOWLANDS: the average altitude is around 565 m.a.s.l. The most characteristic feature of this part of the vineyard is the greater presence of clay from its accumulation at the bottom of the slope in the lower parts of the valley. Here the soils are richer in organic matter, which is why the vines were planted on trellises and closer together, so that the plants naturally compete with each other and balance out their vigour. The vineyards that grow in these soils produce wines that are rounder, more intense, open, and with a superb fruit and floral presence.
MIDLANDS: At 600 metres of altitude, the terrain here is mostly medium-sized stones and clay. Significantly, here in the midlands the grapes ripen 20 to 25 days later than in the lowlands despite the fact that there is not as much difference in altitude. This extension means the grapes undergo a slow and constant maturation with all the benefits that implies. Reds such as Hombros are made with these vines, since this soil brings more complexity to the wines, resulting in rich nuances. The goblet vineyard on these slopes is planted in the historical layout of the region's plantation, 1.5 x 1.5 metres, known in Spanish viticulture as Marco Real.
HIGHLANDS: These are the most highly valued vineyards in the El Bierzo Denomination of Origin. The highlands in El Bierzo are known as tebaidas, a name we also use for the wines that come from these vineyards. The soil in these tebaidas is composed of large stones. Slate and quartz make up the oldest soils in Valtuille and produce longer, more mineral wines. The harvest of these plots is usually about 40 days after the valley's lowlands. Interestingly, these plants flower earlier than in the mid and lowlands. The cycle is noticeably longer at these altitudes despite having the same varieties as the rest. The explanation for this phenomenon can be found in the vineyards' exposure to the cooling western Atlantic winds. These winds and the complexity of the soils make these places the real qualitative driving force of the El Bierzo region.