The unsung hero behind Spain's most sought after Ribera
- Patricia Benitez is a bona fide winemaking powerhouse who has dedicated years to perfecting one of Spain’s most legendary (and expensive) reds. One of Patricia’s vintages bagged a perfect 100 Parker Points and costs upwards of £100 a bottle.
- Having achieved most winemakers’ wildest dreams, you’d think Patricia would be satisfied. But she had another goal yet to tick off her bucket list… making a wine with her own name on the label and with her favourite Riberan area of Fuentenebro at it's heart.
- Now she’s finally on her way to unlocking this long cherished dream. With Angels behind her, she’s on a mission to rescue neglected old vines in a remote abandoned village in Spain’s Ribera del Duero, to create wines of sensational quality - at Angel prices.
Map of the Vineyard
I was born in Cadiz, which although is close to Jerez my passion for making red wines led me to Ribera del Duero. I studied a PhD in Chemistry at University with Enology as my specialised subject, after discovering my passion for wine through contact with wineries. After a serendipitous visit to a winery in Priorat, I was inspired by a young passionate winemaker called Sara Perez, and I decided to focus my career in winemaking.
My first harvest was in 2004 when I did first harvest at Vega Sicilia, I have now worked 16 harvest in various wineries in Ribera del Duero. I love being in contact with nature. Every vintage is a creative opportunity and a challenge to learn something new and meet new people. In this job you are always learning.
This is a new passionate project focusing on a relatively unknown part of Ribera del Duero where old vines thrive. It is an area where altitude, climate, soil and vines are the protagonists. We work with local people who respect the biodiversity and ancient methods of cultivation. Tempranillo is without doubt my lifelong passion. Although it is a versatile grape, it is challenging due to low acidity and robust tannins and yet with skill you can bring out the best expression of Tempranillo in great vintages. It is a red grape with great potential.
My most exhilarating moment was when as a young student I was offered an internship at Vega Sicilia. Then followed by a position in Pingus and an opportunity to be able to express an interpretation of a vineyard under the watchful eye of Peter Sisseck. Over the years far from home I learned to adapt to Ribera del Duero its people and customs. Over time my personal aspirations and need for a challenge brought me to a difficult decision to leave Pingus and embark on this exciting new project at 1076 with recently discovered old vines and a link to the past.
It has been a memorable journey including the first harvest, 100 Parker points and now the Fuentenebro project. I would like to invest in recovering old vines in an abandoned village. This will help to reanimate rural life creating jobs and activities in a forgotten part of Spain.
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