If you’re looking for inspiration in order to make great Spanish wine, one particularly majestic place you might consider is Peñafiel, Spain. On the nearby hill you’ll find the Peñafiel Castle, still commanding the surrounding landscape like it did 600 years ago. And a short 3 1/2 miles away from the Castle you’ll find Bodegas Emilio Moro.
We’re not sure if the Castle played any part in the Moro family’s decision to plant their original Finca Resalso vineyards here in 1932. Certainly the wonderful grape-growing land and climate of the Ribera del Duero had something to do with that decision. But it’s not inconceivable to think that the soft reflections of evening sunlight off the momentous walls of Peñafiel Castle may have contributed to this Bodega’s success.
In the inspiring words of Emilio Moro himself:
Wine is an art, if you know how to listen it speaks to you, telling you when it needs racking and when it needs to rest. It is like a living being that you have to understand, look after and care for.
The Origins of Bodegas Emilio Moro
Bodegas Emilio Moro encompasses 3 generations of the Moro family. The first generation settled in Peñafiel where the eventual patriarch of the family, Emilio Moro, was born in 1932, the same year the family planted their first grapes at Finca Resalso. As a teenage boy, Emilio helped his father distribute and sell 5-gallon jugs of wine across the Ribera del Duero region.
For the next several decades, the family harvested and sold their grapes on the bulk market.
It wasn’t until 1987 that the family’s third generation, led by Emilio’s sons Jose and Javier, invested virtually everything they had in wine making equipment. Bodegas Emilio Moro was thus officially born, and two years later the Bodega was awarded “Denominacion de Origen” in the Ribero del Duero region.
In 1998 the Bodega made the significant decision to drop the traditional Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva wine categories and instead opted to position each label with its own character under its own name: Finca Resalso, Emilio Moro and Malleolus.
One of the key advantages of Bodegas Emilio Moro is that all of their vines originally belonged to the family all the way back to Emilio Moro’s father, giving them a significant stock of old vines. So in 2000 they introduced Malleolus de Valderramiro, made exclusively with the oldest vines on the estate.
Finally in 2002, Malleolus de Sanchomartin made its debut which remains their top-of-the-line label today.
Vineyards & Production
Currently, the Bodega owns 500 acres of vineyards planted with 100% Tinto Fino, grafted with the Bodega’s very own clone of that grape varietal. There’s significant diversity in their soils, as well as different levels of sunlight exposure. In addition, the fermentation process is carried out spontaneously without the use of commercial yeasts or fermentation activators.
This natural diversity and the Bodega’s respect for the natural characteristics of each particular area of their vineyards enables Bodegas Emilio Moro to produce the specific and distinctive characteristics of each of the Bodega’s 5 wine labels.
Current production volume per label is approximately:
- Emilio Moro – 1,100,000 bottles
- Finca Resalso – 400,000 bottles
- Malleolus – 200,000 bottles
- Malleolus de Valderramiro – 7,500 bottles
- Malleolus de Sanchomartin – 3,500 bottles
Awards & Recognition
Bodegas Emilio Moro quickly gained national attention in Spain and was awarded “La Estrella Todovino” (The Todovino Star – Todovino is one of Spain’s most influential wine magazines) after 10 of their wines achieved the maximum score of “3 Lacres” (or Seals) for the first time in the magazine’s history.
In 2008, Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate rated four of the Bodega’s five labels above 92 points:
- Malleolus de Sanchomartin 2005 – 98 points
- Malleolus de Valderramiro 2005 – 97 points
- Malleolus 2005 – 93 points
- Emilio Moro 2005 – 92 points
In 2007, the Wine Spectator also awarded impressively high ratings:
- Malleolus de Sanchomartin 2004 – 97 points (plus the award for “Best Winery at the New York Wine Experience”)
- Malleolus de Sanchomartin 2005 – 96 points
- Malleolus de Valderramiro 2004 – 96 points
- Malleolus de Valderramiro 2005 – 93 points
- Malleolus 2005 – 92 points
- Malleolus 2004 – 90 points
An Inspiring Selection of Wines
Bodegas Emilio Moro always seems to over-deliver.
For example, 2004 was undeniably a great year for Spanish wine, but looking at the ratings above for their 2004 Sanchomartin and Malleolus de Valderramiro you get the sense that even when everybody does great, Bodegas Emilio Moro does crazy great.
And don’t forget: even their more modest Finca Resalso and Malleolus labels tend to be strongly reviewed by the pros.
Needless to say, we’re big fans of Bodegas Emilio Moro – and you’ll find some inspiring selections in our Store right now:
Emilio Moro Finca Resalso 2008$13.99 Read more
90 Wine Advocate
Emilio Moro Finca Resalso 2012$13.99 Read more
91 Intl Wine Cellar
Emilio Moro Malleolus 2010$49.99 Read more
93 Guia Penin 91 Wine & Spirits
Emilio Moro Malleolus de Valderramiro 2009$139.99 Read more
96 Wine Enthusiast 95 Wine Spectator 93 Wine Advocate 93 Intl Wine Cellar