This winery is part of the Avante Selecta group which owns other wine ventures in Rioja ( Bodegas Óbalo), Ribera del Duero (Dominio de Atauta), Rías Baixas (Viña Nora) and Bodegas Naia (Rueda), as well as in Monterrei (Galicia), Castilla La Mancha and Jerez. Avante Selecta is the food and wine division of Inveravante, a holding owned by Galician entrepreneur Manuel Jové with investments in real estate, energy and financial affairs.
Established in 2004, the winery is located in Villanueva de Campeán (Zamora), the most prominent village in the Tierra del Vino (literally “wine land”) region crossed by the river Duero on its way to Portugal. The most important feature in the area is the extremely old Tempranillo vines which, though scattered and grown in small plots, produce grapes of great character and marked minerality. They have survived thanks to the abundance of sandy soils, the most resistant to the the phylloxera plague. The terrain is dominated by clay in deeper layers, while boulders and varying percentages of clay can also be found on the surface. The altitude here is somewhat higher than in the neighboring region of Toro and reach 750 metres, which favors a slower ripening process. The winery advocates for the specificity of local clone of Tempranillo, with very thick skins and distinctive coffee, licorice and sweet spices nuances.
Winemaking is undertaken in open wide vats (most of them inox although there are also a couple of oak vats) looking for maximum oxygenation during fermentation. As far as possible, fermentation is made by specific plots or groups or similar plots. Malolactic takes place in barrels.
Viñas del Cénit produces about 200,000 bottles a year. The range starts with entry-level labels Villano (€7) and Venta Mazarrón (€10) sourced from 40-year-old vineyards on average, the former being aged in barrel for just three months, the latter up to eight months. Both of them are labeled as VT Castilla y León. Via Zenit (around €19) comes from 80 to 100-year-old vines and therefore provides higher levels of concentration and minerality; and the top Cénit (€42) goes a step further as it focuses on the oldest plots (120-150-year-old) thus offering power, high ripening character and generous textures.