Balbás Ancestral 2018 – Bodegas Balbás
Style: Red
Country: Spain
Region: Ribera del Duero
Grape: Tempranillo
Score: 90-94
Price: 50-75 euro

Balbás Ancestral 2018 – Bodegas Balbás.

When visiting Ribera del Duero this summer we had the pleasure to be welcomed at Bodegas Balbás, who gave us a tour through their vineyards and cellar, including a tasting of their wines. Bodegas Balbás is one of the oldest wineries in Ribera del Duero and finds its home in the ‘Golden Diamond’ of Ribera del Duero, in the town of La Horra.

Back home there is one wine in particular that stuck with us. It is a wine with ties to the past, and only produced in excellent vintages, the Balbás Ancestral. In this review their 2018 release of this wine.

About the Winery

Bodegas Balbás stands out in the winemaking industry, combining innovative techniques with artisanal practices handed down since 1777. Located in La Horra, known as the Golden Diamond of Ribera del Duero, it’s a region celebrated for its unique wines, recognized globally for their distinct aromas and nuances. The winery, led by Juan José Balbás and Clara de la Fuente, emphasizes a philosophy of being winegrowers first, ensuring each bottle reflects the terroir’s potential. With the involvement of the seventh generation, Patricia and María Balbás, the winery embraces innovation and environmental respect, aligning with the 2030 agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Pedro de la Fuente, the winemaker, along with Fernando Izquierdo, Head of Viticulture, brings over 25 years of experience, crafting wines that showcase the distinct character of each estate.

Balbás Ancestral 2018 – Bodegas Balbás.

About the Wine

The Balbás Ancestral 2018, hailing from the prestigious La Horra, is a testament to the winery’s heritage and expertise. This exceptional wine, made from 100% Tempranillo grapes, undergoes aging for 24 months in French oak foudres. The vineyards, located at an altitude of 870 meters, feature sandy clay loam soil, low in organic matter, contributing to the wine’s unique profile. Each vineyard plot contributes its own character, enhancing the wine’s complexity.

The 2018 Balbás Ancestral is a homage to tradition and quality. With a purple-red color and a bright medium-high hue, it invites wine enthusiasts into a world of intense aromas and flavors. The nose is greeted with intense overripe black fruit, intertwined with elegant vanilla and hints of dried fruit. On the palate, the wine reveals fine sweet and enveloping tannins, balancing beautifully with a subtle presence of wood aging. This creates an enveloping, meaty, and elegant wine, reflecting the meticulous care in its creation.

The craftsmanship is evident from the vineyard to the bottle. The harvest process involves a meticulous selection of grapes, ensuring that only the best are used. The winemaking process mirrors the traditional recipes of the ancestors, preserving the soul of the original Balbás wines. The Balbás Ancestral 2018, like its predecessors, is bottled in a design reminiscent of the winery’s early days, with the engraving of the old label, symbolizing a bridge between the past and present.

In summary, Balbás Ancestral 2018 is more than just a wine; it’s a blend of history, tradition, and innovation. Its unique character, born from the combined efforts of generations of the Balbás family and their dedication to the terroir, results in a unique red wine with the soil of Ribera del Duero.

We happily award this Tempranillo powerhouse with a 92-point DWA score.

Balbás Ancestral is produced in limited quantities and its release is reserved for the best vintages. The wine can be bought through the winery directly or in international markets through various importers, retail and hospitality partners. The actual vintage is 2019.

This review is written by our own Niels Aarts. Picture credits: Bodegas Balbás and Dutch Wine Apprentice.

Price:                   ~ €60

Taste date:          December 2023

Score:                   92/100 DWA Score

Website:              Bodegas Balbás