Winery Profile: O.Fournier, Ribera del Duero

O.Fournier, which opened a winery in Mendoza, Argentina in 2001, purchased the property in Ribera del Duero in 2002. O.Fournier is owned by brother and sister José Manuel Ortega Gil-Fournier and Natalia Ortega Gil-Fournier.

Their logo is an Argentine ostrich that was derived from a sacred native cave painting. Inside the ostrich (which represents earth) is a cross (which represents the Southern Cross, or the sky) and together they create unity.

The Duero River curves around the property and the main block is made up of 65 hectares. The wine is made from 100% estate fruit and the property consists of 25 single vineyards. 30% of the vines are trellised and the remainder are bush vines. The average age of the vines is 35-40 years old. O.Fournier focuses on low yields and produces 200,000 bottles each year using the latest technology. The resulting wines are terroir driven wines, and reflect the cold climate and the rocky soils.

At O.Fournier in Ribera del Duero, both the winemaker and the assistant winemaker are women. Winemaker Laura Terrazas came to O.Fournier while she was finishing her studies in enology in 2005. She returned in 2007 and began as winemaker in 2008.

We sat down for a tasting through all of the wines: Urban, Spiga, Alfa Spiga and O.Fournier.

Urban 2010 – This wine comes from the youngest vines and is fermented in stainless steel and then spends 3 months in neutral oak. The label on the bottle is a photographic image that changes each year. The style of the wine is fruit forward with light complexity and bright acidity. It retails for under $15.

Spiga – The grapes for this wine come from 40-50 year old vineyards. This wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and then spends 12-13 months in oak (1/2 new and 1/2 used). It is not filtered and retails around $28-$32.

  • 2006: A rainy year that produced higher yeilds, this wine has a nose of dark fruit, smoke and leather and a long, silky finish.
  • 2007: A colder year, the resulting wine has aromas of dark fruit, spice and toast. On the palate, it has a long finish with layers of fruit and spice.
  • 2008: While not one of the best years in Ribera del Duero, this wine is bright with aromas of raspberry, cherry and roses. On the palate, the wine has good acidity with a hint of spice.

Alfa Spiga – The grapes for this wine come from 80 year old vines and are hand-selected and then are gravity fed, go through cold maceration and then malolactic fermentation takes place in new barrels. The wine then spends 18-20 months in oak (80% French and 20% American). The wine retails for approximately $40-$50.

  • 2005: This beautiful wine has spice notes of cinnamon and clove, as well as blackberry and lavender. 
  • 2006: With a luxurious nose of black fruit, violets and licorice, on the palate the wine is bright with balanced acidity and tannins and a long finish.

O.Fournier 2005 – The best selections from Alfa Spiga are selected in a blind tasting to be used for O.Fournier. This wine spends 18 months in 100% new French Oak. Only 750 6-packs are produced and the retails for approximately $85-$90. 2004 was the first vintage that this wine was produced. The 2005 O.Fournier has a rich nose of floral notes, black fruit and smoke and is a big, luxurious wine.