During the 2000s, Frenchman Bertrand Sourdais was technical director at Dominio de Atauta, the winery that discovered the remote and extraordinary landscape filled with very old vines that laid hidden in the eastern end of Ribera del Duero, within the province of Soria.
In 2011 he set up Antídoto with agricultural engineer David Hernando, who was technical director at Atalayas de Golbán, Dominio de Atauta's sister winery. Grapes for Antídoto are sourced from a whopping 600 plots (fragmentation is huge here as there was virtually no land consolidation) distributed in 10 villages in the province of Soria.The range of wines is marked by soil variations.
Their very old Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and Albillo vines are farmed organically and excessive extraction in their wines is avoided.
The entry-level Antídoto (€15, 120,000 bottles) is made with grapes grown on sandy, gravelly soils on the left bank of the Duero river where supple tannins can be achieved. Skins are usually removed before the end of fermentation and the wine is aged in 600-litre barrels so oak aromas are very discreet. The aim is to obtain an easy-drinking, pleasant red.
In contrast, La Hormiga de Antídoto (12,000 bottles, €26) comes from iron-rich red clay soils on the right bank of the river under the influence of the Sistema Ibérico.
Antídoto has pioneered a new style of rosés in Ribera. Inspired by Champagne’s sophisticated rosés, they have applied direct pressing to the traditional blend of red and white grapes in the area (Tempranillo plus Albillo) used for clarete. Grapes are sourced from the southern end of the valley where white grapes are more common, usually found on limestone soils. The range includes the entry-level Roselito (€10, 30,000 bottles) and their premium Le Rosé de Antídoto (2,400 bottles, over €50). The latter is Sourdais’ attempt at making a great terroir-driven rosé. Grapes are sourced from La Casilla, a small vineyard at 1,000m of altitude with 30 to 50cm of sand on limestone rock. The wine is fermented and aged in two 600-litre barrels.
Bertrand Sourdais also owns Domaine de Pallus in his native Chinon (France) and has embarked on a second project in Ribera del Duero called Dominio de Es.