We arrived to Bodega Cillar de Silos on a fog wrapped morning and warmly greeted by Roberto, who welcomed us into the main entry filled with dark wood and stone walls. After scanning the main entry, it was easy to conclude that this was a Bodega with some considerable financial backing.

Feeling the crisp air begin to settle in our bones, we immediately set off to tour the buildings located near the entrance of the bodega. Two large buildings stand behind the main office and conference rooms; one holding the fermentation tanks, while the other held the repository of wine bottles and barrels. Not much to report, other than their pristine and clean nature, which are usually good indicators of a winery that takes pride in their product.

As we wound out way up the streets, I started to pick out the stones stacked in conical shapes that acted as air vents for the caves below. Rounding a slight corner, we were confronted by arbitrarily placed air shafts fading into the fog and a small stone building in the foreground. It was then that Roberto pulled out one of the largest keys that I have ever seen. Although it reminded me of a key you might find in a museum that opened the sacred door to the King’s chamber; this key led into the small building housing the entrance to their underground cellar. In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting anything grandiose or unusual within the cellar below. Not the day before I had visited a very similar cave, leading me to believe that the majority of them would be either similar or comparable, but I was absolutely mistaken. The modern design of the main Bodega mirrored the cave below.

The main room was turned into a tasting room, holding a gigantic wood press that hovered above the main room, while a series of lights shone down upon a thick wooden tasting table. Along the right wall stood a fireplace and or cooking hearth. Modern designs framed by ancient relics of times past made you feel as though you had stumbled into lost ruins of an advanced culture.

I was impressed before we had even begun our descent down the steep staircase into the caves below. A warren of tunnels wound their way through the earth coated with sprayed on cement and ceilings high enough to allow small tractors to transport the wine stored in layers along the walls. It was truly an amazing sight to see. Unlike the rugged cave I had seen at Lagar de Isilla, this was a modern take on an old tradition. Temperature and humidity regulated by the earth itself give the wines an optimal environment for aging. As a result, the wines that need bottle age before being released to the public are kept safe by the earth from which the grapes grew. Immaculately cleaned and preserved, it demonstrated the extent to which Cillar de Silo took to ensure their wines aged gracefully.

Ascending up and out of the rocky caves, we headed back into the main building for a wine tasting. Not only did we try their basic line of tasting wines, but also their premium wine from the 2004 vintage that sat in a stabilization tank awaiting bottling in a few months. I have to say; in the beginning, the wines seemed a bit too internationally styled for my taste. Strong oak presence and high alcohol combined to create a really average wine experience, not bad just status quo; but in the end, the 2004 Vintage Torresilo knocked me off my feet. No wonder this was thought to be one of the greatest vintages in recent history. The fruit was pure, the concentration wonderful, and what made me finish my glass were the layers of nuance that seemed to echo on my palate long after I had finished the wine.

When I asked Roberto what he thought of it, he simply said, “the best is yet to come”. I look forward to tasting more of Cillar de Silos wines in the near future.

Till soon,

Ryan Opaz

D.O./Region: Ribera del Duero
Address: Paraja “El Soto”, 09443 Quintana del Pidio
Burgos, España
Telephone: +34 947 545 126
Fax: +34 947 545 605
Email: [[email protected]>mailto:[email protected]] Web:[ http://www.cillardesilos.es->http://www.cillardesilos.es] Founded: 1994
Hectares of Vines: 48 h
Wine maker: Oscar Aragón García
Varietals Grown/Elaborated: Tempranillo
Total Production bottles: 200,000, 30,000+/- exported
Wines Produced: Cillar de Silos Joven, Cillar de Silos Crianza, Torresilo

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