Jose Moro and Bodegas Emilio Moro Q&A
In the heart of Spanish wine country in the Ribera del Duero appellation where dry summers and long, hard winters converge you’ll find the Emilio Moro winery. Originally planted in 1932 and still family owned to this day, the winery produces some of the most interesting and historic Tempranillo in all of Spain. Starting in 1987 the family decided to spend more time, money and resources on their wine trade instead of simply selling their grapes, the results have been phenomenal. From entry level bottles to single vineyard estate wines Emilio Moro offers a fantastic representation of everything that Tempranillo can be, when you combine an outstanding winemaker, facilities and the best fruit planted in the perfect locations.
The first time I had the pleasure of tasting Emilio Moro wine was at Casa Mono in NYC. It was with Jamón serrano which is very similar to Italian Prosciutto…it was a life changing moment. The wine was amazing…it was structured, yet approachable. It was one of those nights that was hard to come home to my wife and say “it was work!”
Since that night we have begun a relationship with Jose Moro and were lucky to catch up for a few minutes at the Grand Tour in NYC:
Jose Moro: Since I was little, my father used to take my brother and me to work in the vineyards, in addition to being present throughout the process, from harvest (one of the most special times of the year for me) right up to serving the wine in the glass. But the marketing of our wines, as we know it today, started in 1987.
J&C: Please tell us about the vineyard and why it is so special.
Jose Moro: The essence of the wine you are going to develop is in the vineyard, the land must be cared for and pamper so it reaches its full potential and returns that care and attention in the form of a quality grape.
J&C: How do the soil and landscape shape the wine making at Emilio?
Jose Moro: As I mentioned, the land gives you the essence of the wine, its potential. You must show it the utmost respect, as it is a fundamental part of the process.
J&C: Although the Bordeaux transplants—Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec—are permitted in Ribera del Duero, and the indigenous Albillo (a white table grape) and Garnacha persist in a few isolated vineyards, Tempranillo is the soul of Ribera, and many producers are now making wines that are 100 percent Tempranillo. José Moro, is one of Tempranillo’s most ardent supporters. “Albillo is said to fix the color, but doesn’t give anything else,” he says. “And Cabernet and Merlot don’t ripen properly here. They stay green.” So why so true to the Tempranillo grape?
Jose Moro: It is our native variety and we work with our own tempranillo clone which originated in Pesquera de Duero, we do not want to give up on our roots and therefore we work with the most important variety in the Ribera del Duero.
J&C: The Duero is a historic river, linked between countries that can’t even agree on how to spell its name (it’s Douro in Portugal). How special is that river to Emilio Moro?
Jose Moro: The Duero river is the axis that unites more than 100 villages spread over a vine-growing area of about 115 km long and 35 km wide. Along its course there are great vineyards which in turn, will produce great wines in the future.
J&C: How many different wines does Emilio make?
Jose Moro: We produce five different wines, all red and 100% Tempranillo, also known as Tinto Fino.
EMILIO MORO, named after its creator, is the alma mater of the winery. Made from vines between 15 and 25 years old, it is a point of reference to the spirit of the Ribera del Duero.
MALLEOLUS, the word Malleolus comes from Latin and means majuelo, a word which means “vines” in Pesquera de Duero. To produce this wine we select grapes from vines of between 25 and 75 years old, both bush and trellis trained. It is definative of the Tinto Fino (or Tempranillo) variety.
MALLEOLUS DE VALDERRAMIRO, made with grapes from the Valderramiro vine plot. In this plot, the winery has three vineyards of 85 years of age and the aim in elaborating this wine is to maximize the role to the “terroir”, great balsamic intensity and opulence.
MALLEOLUS DE SANCHOMARTÍN, made with grapes from the Sanchomartín vine plot, 0.7 hectares situated on a hillside on the right bank of the Duero River. It is a terroir of aromatic persistence, expressive and very personal.
Jose Moro: No, we only work with one variety.
J&C: What is the average day for Jose Moro?
Jose Moro: It depends on the day, as there are many events to attend and trips to make, but apart from those, I go to the winery in the morning and I am there until the afternoon, when I return to Valladolid. I live either in Valladolid or Madrid, depending on the agenda I have that week.
J&C: What first attracted you to wine making?
J&C: If you could change one thing about the wine industry what would it be?
Jose Moro: I would spread the name of Ribera del Duero worldwide. We have very good raw materials and very good wines and we have to share them with the rest of the world, to get them to try our wines, and let them be convinced with the quality offered by our denomination of origin.
J&C: What is different about Emilio Moro?
Jose Moro: The seriousness of its wines, their aromatic potential and their fullness and smoothness in the mouth.
Jose Moro: We have importers/distributors in many place throughout the world, just visit our website, www.emiliomoro.com, where we have contact details for our importers. Through the blog we have on our website, you can actively participate in various discussion topics, and all suggestions will be duly attended to, as well as on our Facebook page: Bodegas Emilio Moro.
J&C: You are in a wine cellar with one choice…what wine do you choose and why?
Jose Moro: It depends, each wine has its moment.
About Emilio Moro:
Emilio Moro winery is family-run and has roots in the wine world going back three generations. It is located in Ribera del Duero, a land of hot summers and long, cold winters. Emilio Moro, the founder of Bodegas Emilio Moro, was born in Pesquera de Duero, a wine area of time-honored traditions, where some of the flagship wines of the Ribera del Duero appellation are now made.
It was in this year that the winery’s first vineyard, Finca Resalso, was planted. One advantage that the Bodegas Emilio Moro winery has in its vineyards is that some of them have belonged to the family for many years and ahve the purest clone of the indigenous Tempranillo varietal, known in Spain as “Tinto Fino.” This clone has been used to graft all the vine plants of the winery’s vineyards, which have gradually grown in surface over time.