Bodegas de Alberto is based in an old farmhouse built by the Dominican Religious Order over 350 years ago and has remained resolutely in the hands of the Gutiérrez family for five generations.
Throughout those decades the family has remained nothing but dedicated to its homeland of Castilla y León and also to Rueda’s heritage: ‘We are a very close company and defender of tradition which can be clearly seen in the wines we produce,’ explains General Manager, Carmen San Martín Gutiérrez.
‘The new generation has strong links to our territory, so during the boom for Rueda whites and Verdejo we never stopped producing red wines, and neither are we similar to some wineries where external investment groups or larger producers expand into the region because they want a Rueda white for its portfolio; we had always been perfectly positioned for the recent explosion in popularity for white wine as an aperitif.’
It is this easy, slow-burn growth which has allowed De Alberto to adapt to market trends should they synchronise with its philosophy, while at the same time tending to its original roots which provided the launch pad for its successes in the first place.
There is no better example of this than the Alberto Dorado Verdejo, which won a Platinum medal at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards. ‘At the beginning of the 1940s, our great-grandfather Alberto and his three sons Dalmacio, José and Alberto, continued to produce this historical wine in the old monastery cellars’ says Carmen. ‘It’s 100% Verdejo, made using a solera and partially-filled damajuanas (demijohns) which are left under the sun for 12 months for the wine to oxidise. De Alberto is the only surviving winery to use this process and it is still applied in exactly the same way today, continuous and unbroken for more than 70 years, with a solera that still contains the original “mother” wine; it’s a style which if not maintained would have otherwise disappeared.’
‘All our wines detail our history and the preservation of a wine legacy, and in some cases – such as with the Alberto Dorado which is the soul of De Alberto and our most special wine – it is a historical legacy. They also represent the Gutiérrez family’s love for the land, perseverance, hard but beautiful work, year after year and decade after decade, all transmitted from one generation to the next.’