The stars were aligned in 2002 when longtime friends turned brother in laws (Javier married Miguel’s sister, Cristina) Miguel Hornillos and Javier Ballesteros embarked on their winemaking alliance. Both third generation grape growers growing up in in DO Ribera del Duero, they joined forces with their 40 hectares of combined vineyards in the surrounding areas of Roa in Burgos to create a new generation of winemaking under the label MiBal. Vineyards so attractive that the lion’s share of their growth gets sold at top dollar to some of the region’s most prominent wineries like Pago de los Capellanes and Alion.
And each year following a meticulous squirreling of only 10-15 % of their harvest, they hand craft wines, on the side of the road, in a humble little garage winery that houses their vision.
This soulful project of Miguel and Javier has an organic respect for their beautifully rugged, hardly touched vineyards by producing ecologically farmed wines, following biodynamic philosophies and treatments, all with a minimal intervention approach to their work in the winery.
The result is incredibly fresh Tempranillo with a bright acidity and purity of concentrated dark fruit, wet earth, crushed herbs and savory textures. Their elegance and balance are expressive of higher altitudes (2700 ft above sea level) and the complex blending of the terroirs of clay, sand and gravel. They incorporate the use of 1-3 years old American and French oak barrels to age their Crianza, and the Joven is juicy and oak free. If you have been over oaked and unimpressed with Ribera del Duero, especially in this price range, do not miss these true to place, pure in fruit, downright tasty Tempranillos.