Season 4

Episode index
Episode 1. Ribera del Duero.
Episode 2. Rioja 1, a World to discover.
Episode 3. Rioja 2, the Train Station Neighbourhood.
Episode 4. Rioja 3, Present, Remirez, Future.
Episode 5. Portugal 1, Atlantic and Mediterranean.
Episode 6. Ribera and Tierra de Castilla.
Episode 7. Rhiengau vs Sauternes.
Episode 8. Portugal: From Sea to Mountain.

Episode 1. Ribera del Duero.
Ribera de Duero, border wines.
Cultivated over 800 meters above sea level, its vineyards are the last to bud in Europe. Thanks to the earliness of the local variety, Tinta Fina, the Ribera del Duero region enjoys exceptional conditions for making high quality wine, as long as effects of the dreaded spring frosts are avoided. In what was once the heart of Old Castile, home of the monastic Castilian wineries, today the region’s wines are completely different to not only the wines of centuries ago, but also the ones produced only 30 years ago. The Perez Pascuas family, founder of the region’s denomination of origin” teach us about its origin.

Episode 2. Rioja 1, a World to discover.
At a wine fair we have the opportunity to try a bottle of wine with a genie inside! We have an urgent need to go and see the vineyard from which it was made. We begin to understand the magic in that wine. At the same time, we understand that part of the secrets of the wealth of La Rioja, lies with the values of its different areas and the richness of its grape varieties. Rioja cannot afford to fall asleep, and I can assure you that this wine, Azabache, from Rioja Baja, kept us awake for a long time.

Episode 3. Rioja 2, the Train Station Neighbourhood.
There is a clear reason why La Rioja has always been several steps ahead of the rest. Its modern renaissance was almost by chance and fruit of misfortune in Bordeaux, but Riojans knew how to take advantage of this opportunity. It was such a boom more than 100 years ago that it justified the construction of what is undoubtedly the most famous wine neighborhoods. Located in Haro, it is known as the Barrio de la Estación, or Station Neighbourhood, and is home to an impressive number of prestigious wineries over 100 years old. We could not choose a better person to explain its history than María José López de Heredia, a fourth-generation member of a family of traditional, passionate winemakers. She is true locomotive of the Barrio de la Estación. All aboard!

Episode 4. Rioja 3, Present, Remirez, Future.
The taste of wine cannot, or rather, should not be at odds with the taste of consumers. However, sadly this happens. Fortunately, we have the opportunity to visit a tireless winemaker who questions each and every step of wine making, from the vineyard to the winery. He does not settle for good bunches of grapes, and even considers which part of the cluster is best for each wine style. Seeing is believing! It is well worth it to meet Fernando Remírez de Ganuza and his family.

Episode 5. Portugal 1, Atlantic and Mediterranean.
At the Atlantic coast of the European continent, and around cosmopolitan Lisbon, we discover unique grape varieties and wine regions of Portugal. But we also discover, along that coast, a precious Mediterranean crop, that is key to enjoying any good wine. That crop is better further from the Atlantic and closer to the Mediterranean. We visit Quinta da Murta, in Buçelas, a small wine region on the mouth of the Tagus River. Here we discover some secrets of the cultivation of a grape that practically only grows here, Arinto, and its partner, Esgana Cão, and we celebrate by toasting with William Shakespeare’s wine.

Episode 6. Ribera and Tierra de Castilla.
Where does a wine region start and end? What are the wines like from one side of the border to the other? To find out, we return to Ribera de Duero, and we try wines from within and beyond its borders, which are sometimes historical, but not much of a story. We talk to Angel Anocibar, the only Spanish Doctor of Enology from the University of Bordeaux. He shares with us some technical secrets and his opinion of different wine fashions. We end our trip in the land of Castile, with another illustrious Navarrese, discovering the wines of the only Spanish winner of the Pritzker Prize, considered the Nobel Prize for architecture, Rafael Moneo. Prepare pen and paper to take notes!

Episode 7. Rhiengau vs Sauternes.
Specific wine styles can only be made in certain years, amidst apparent adversities. With experience, one does not swim against the current, but joins it. Rotten grapes, temperatures below zero … but still wines are made. In the heart of Europe, between the rivers of Bordeaux and on the banks of the Rhine, we discover noble rot and ice wines. We learn the secrets of Sauternes, and we take part in Rheingau in a harvest at 10 degrees Celsius below zero. In this episode the winemakers pray that their grapes, if they don’t ripen, hopefully rot or freeze.

Episode 8. Portugal: From Sea to Mountain.
From the cork forests in southwest Portugal, we travel up to the north to discover how the bark of these trees turn into stoppers. Cork Supply, despite its English name, is a Portuguese company that produces stoppers for the whole world. Its techniques to avoid the serious “corked” wine problem are really amazing. We travel to the interior of Portugal, and visit an important wine region, Dão. The charming and ingenious engineer, Álvaro Castro, delights us with his wines that he personally sells to even Maçao. With simplicity and rigour, and stone in hand, he explains to us even about the soils. If my teachers had explained to me at school about granite this way, I would surely remember its composition: quartz, feldspar and …?