As the world faces the unprecedented threat posed by the coronavirus, nature continues its course. At our Duero estate, the cooler weather of the last few weeks has somewhat slowed down the vines, although not so much as to prevent the formation of the first tentative buds that welcome the arrival of spring.
These are the first glimpses of hope that spring brings to Abadía Retuerta. They first appeared on our Gewürztraminer plot, one of the grape varieties blended in LeDomaine white, which is grown on the slopes of the vineyard.
While it may seem contradictory, the fact that this plot lies in one of the highest areas of the estate contributes significantly to making this possible, as the cold air descending into the valley concentrates a very compact mass of warmer air here. Hence we call this area “the thermal belt”. In addition, the soil of this plot, a whitish sandy clay with excellent moisture retention, favours sprouting, which is slightly more advanced here than in other parts of the estate.
The development of the cycle
Ribera del Duero and its surrounding areas, such as Abadía Retuerta, are one of the coolest wine regions in Spain and arguably one where the effects of global warming are felt more gradually.
In this regard, this year is proving to be a case in point. After the warmest winter of the century with considerably higher than usual temperatures in February and the beginning of March, the average temperature has not exceeded 10ºC for several days, considerably slowing down the plant’s growth.
Far from evolving, this situation is set to continue for several days, as the forecast graph below shows, with likely frosts pushing down temperatures to as low as -1 to -4°C. This leads us to believe that sprouting will be widespread in the second week of May, which, with a bit of luck, may save us from the risk of spring frosts.
Another encouraging factor this year is that the groundwater reserves are very high, thanks to the winter rains and the couple of 20-litre showers registered in recent days, which have helped to retain the topsoil’s moisture. This could result in abundant sprouting and relatively bountiful yields to offset the short 2019 harvest.