Situated on the slopes of one of Spain's most emblematic castles in Peñafiel, Bodegas Protos advocates a perfect balance between the tradition of wine production and the innovation of its facilities.
Founded in 1929 by 11 winegrowers, Protos was the first cooperative winery to emerge in Ribera del Duero, peñafiel district. The choice of the name of one of the world's best-known and award-awarded Spanish wine brands was not random: Protos means "The First" in Greek.
However, the mythical aura of the brand does not stop there. From its location, to the design and aging process of wine, the historical setting that surrounds Protos in Ribera del Duero crosses legends, medieval handmade knowledge and the most modern architectural features. Today, Protos is one of the main Spanish wineries, not only through the recognition of its brands, but also for its quality, and for wine tourism services.
They currently have almost 300 members and have the annual capacity to receive up to four million kilos of grapes and produce and market about three million bottles. Part of this production is exported primarily to the European market – mainly to Germany – and to South American countries such as Puerto Rico, Brazil, Panama, Mexico and Peru, although the brand is present in more than 30 countries worldwide.
The ribera del duero terroir provides the production of wines with a unique character in the world. The very dry and hot summers of this region contrast with the very harsh winters. Rainfall is low and the temperature can fluctuate between negative 8º C and positive 40ºC. The rocky plateau consists of sedimentary terrain and layers of loose clays, limestone and mangoes. The local variation of the Tempranillo variety, known as Tinta del País, accounts for more than 90% of wine production.
Tradition and innovation
In the east of the province of Valladolid, very close to the confluence of the River Duratón with the Duero, arises the municipality of Penãfiel, crowned by the emblematic castle of medieval times, known for its distant moth in the form of a sailboat. It is on its slopes that the Protos winery is located.
The records of the building of this castle date back to the 10th century, later renovated in the 15th century. Currently, it hosts the Provincial Wine Museum, whose rooms (with more than two thousand square meters) exhibit the processes of wine production, as well as the denominations of origin of the region: Ribera del Duero, Cigales and Rueda.
On the basis of any innovation, there is always a great tradition. Protos is a good example of this. One of its assets lies in the way the vineyards are cared for, a tradition that dates back to the monks of the Order of Cisterh. Moreover, the entire region of Ribera del Duero, whose wine production is already millenary, benefited from the knowledge of Benedictine monks from the French regions in the 12th century.
Characterized by rapid growth since the 1930s, Protos struggled early with space problems, demanding the creation of the first aging winery, built right in the heart of the mountain that sustains the castle. In the 1980s, they surpassed another step that catapulted them to the international scene: integration into the DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) of Ribera del Duero. In the following decade, the crianza winery was expanded. The accelerated growth, but in a consolidated way, continued with the acquisition of a winery in Anguix, in the Burgos area, with the capacity to work up to two million kilos of grapes, equipped with the most advanced technology.
Since his first gold medal recognition at the Universal Exhibition in Barcelona (in 1929), the awards and awards continue to this day, both in national and international competitions.
As a result of its growing expansion, Protos now houses 8,000 American and French oak barrels. The aging of the wine is done in underground galleries more than two kilometers long, excavated under the castle of Peñafiel. There, the wines rest at a temperature of 15 degrees and a humidity of 75%, values guaranteed throughout the year. In fact, the cellars have their own laboratory where intense control and oenological research work is done.
In 2007, the new facilities of the Protos wineries, a current ex-líbris of the entire region, were inaugurated. The imposing project was carried out by one of the world's most prestigious architects, Richard Rogers, and had an investment of 30 million euros. The creative concept unites disparate terms that represent the secular style of the region: modernity and tradition, flexibility and history, avant-garde and trends. With these facilities, Protos aims to respond to the growing needs of the market and continue to implement the latest technologies that help improve its traditional methodologies.
Some of protos' best-known wines:
Protos Crianza - Grape Variety: 100% Tempranillo: This wine has an internship of not less than 24 months, 12 of which in American oak barrels. With a fruity aroma reminiscent of plum and blackbread, it is round and velvety, with notes of oak and a very subtle end of mouth.
Protos Selección - Grape Variety: 100% Tempranillo: Harvested manually in 18-kilo grids, grapes are carefully selected. Fermentation is done in stainless steel balseiros at a controlled temperature between 28ºC and 30ºC. Maturation occurs for 21 days and aging is done in French oak barrels for eighteen months. This wine has a sharp violet color and has an intense aroma, with notes of spices.
Protos Reserva - Grape Variety: 100% Tempranillo: This wine is kept in French and American oak barrels for a minimum period of 16 months. Once bottled, it still rests for 24 months before being released to the market. Its aroma mixes wild fruits and vanilla notes. Its taste buds are structured and striking.
Protos Gran Reserva - Grape Variety: 100% Tempranillo (vineyards over 40 years old) : Wine is kept in French and American oak barrels for a minimum period of 30 months and in bottles for 42 months. It has an aroma of wild fruits already with some evolution. On the palate it is powerful, structured and with long finish of mouth.