Ribera del Júcar Designation of Origin
History: This young Designation of Origin, Ribera del Júcar, saw the light in the year 2003 as a joint initiative of a group of wine producing cooperatives and private wineries of the province of Cuenca to actively collaborate in the production and commercialization of quality wines. In the “Ribera del Júcar” viniculture area, an area that has been historically agricultural, cultivation of the vine and production of red wines has represented the area’s strategic industry, as there is no other type of economic activity in this population. It counts with an extension of 9,141 hectares of vineyard located in seven municipalities of the province of Cuenca. Unusually enough, the wines are not actually certified by the tasting panel of the Designation of Origin itself, but by the Institute of the Vine and Wine of Castilla-La Mancha (IVICAM).
Geography and soil: The deep clay-bearing calcareous soil, covered in pebbles, is found on a table-land plateau with an average height above sea level of about 750 metres. This incomparable situation and the special microclimate of the Ribera del Júcar assure excellent conditions for the cultivation of grapes. The age-old pebbles found in the area, legacy of the former passing of the Júcar River through this area, facilitates drainage during the rainy seasons, with the water being filtered to the subsoil. During the summer these pebbles receive the sunlight and reflect it on the clusters of grapes, hence allowing for uniform solar radiation and ripening of the grape clusters.
Climate: The climate is characterized as Mediterranean during the spring and summer seasons.
During the summer season the days are warm and gentle with cool nights. Fall and winter also tend to be gentle, with average to high rainfall levels.
Varieties: The varieties of grapes included in the designation are all red wine grapes: Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Bobal. 42 % of the varieties are over 20 years old. Also, the average lifespan of the vineyard assures for a good ratio between production and the quality of the grape.