One of the first producers in Ribera del Duero focused on growing vines on the páramo (moorland), Valtravieso is located in Piñel de Arriba (Valladolid), on the northern bank of the Duero River, at over 900 m elevation. It was established in the 1980s and acquired by the Beteré family in 2003.
At present, around 80 hectares out of the 100 in the estate are under vine. Most of them are on the páramo, except for nine hectares situated close to the centre of Piñel de Arriba. The entire vineyard is being converted to organic.
In an area where limestone abounds, Valtravieso is crossed by a valley (etymologically Valtravieso means "the valley that traverses") and there is a hillside with clayey soils which produce fruitier, rounder wines. Elsewhere, the varying depth of the soil is a major factor that determines grape growing. Thus, on the left side of the valley, where the bedrock lies closer to the surface, yields can drop to 2,500 kg/ha.
Tempranillo or Tinto Fino is the dominant variety, followed by Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Generally speaking, while the former performs consistently in the estate, Cabernet Sauvignon can achieve excellence in good vintages. In addition, there are new plantings of Malbec, Garnacha, Albillo Mayor and some experimental white varieties. Another plot has been planted with field blends.
Since winemaker Ricardo Velasco joined the company in 2014, the number of plots vinfied separately is greater meaning that there is a better knowledge of the estate and more nuances in the process. As a result, blends are made after malolactic fermentation to have lower pHs in the wines. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation as a whole are carried out in stainless steel tanks. With few exceptions, destemming and spontaneous fermentations are the norm. Commercial yeasts are limited to the entry-level red Finca Santa María.
Valtravieso makes around 700,000 bottles. A great deal of the fruit is sourced from some 50 hectares farmed by suppliers, mostly for the entry-level Finca Santa Marina (six months in barrel, under €9 in Spain) and the Crianza (around €16, 200,000 bottles). Labelled as "Vino de Páramo" since the 2018 vintage, grapes for the Crianza come mostly from moorland vineyards in Valbuena and Pesquera.
The rest of the wines are made from Valtravieso grapes, starting with Reserva Finca La Atalaya (€27, 15,000 bottles), a classic style red from limestone soils on the páramo. All these wines blend Tinto Fino, Merlot and Cabernet, as does VT Vendimia Seleccionada (12,000 bottles, €29 in Spain), sourced from clay and limestone soils.
The premium range is rounded off with VT Tinto Fino (6,000 bottles, €29), made from two plots with limestone soils, and Gran Valtravieso, the top red which is only released in very specific vintages. So far it has been made in 1996, 2016 and 2018. Since the 2010s, the style of this wine evolved and it is aged in oak and egg-shaped concrete tanks.
Rupture is a blend of Cabernet and Merlot and it is sold under the seal of VT Castilla y León whereas El Manifiesto is a new range of experimental wines. The first is an Albillo Mayor made in a similar way to Port whites -treading the grapes and fermenting whole bunches in open vats. Fewer than 500 bottles have been produced and the idea is to release a different wine each year.
Valtravieso also manages Viñedos Olvidados (Forgotten Vineyards), a project focused on off-the-beaten-track regions boasting a significant heritage of historic vineyards.