Convento San Francisco was founded in 1998 and today is owned by the Pitarch-Rodriguez family. The wines are made by Raquel Acebes, who has worked at the winery since 2003. To create a home for Convento San Francisco’s winery, the owners restored a 13th-century monastery in the fortress town of Peñafiel. The building’s fastidiously preserved historic walls and structural details make it an architectural treasure, one that belies the modern workings within.
Convento San Francisco also owns the artisanal Aldeasoña project, which produces one wine per year from Tinto del País, the local name for Tempranillo. The grapes are sourced from ungrafted, pre-phylloxera vines over 95 years old located in several vineyard sites in and around Ribera del Duero. Rather than follow the rules prescribed by the DO, Aldeasoña takes the regional designation of Vino de la Tierra Castilla y León.
Location of Vineyard
Convento San Francisco’s grapes are sourced from 46 different plots in Ribera del Duero. These sites have been carefully selected so as to balance the region's three predominant soil types. In Olivares del Duero and Quintanilla de Arriba, the soils are calcareous. In Peñafiel, the soils become sandier. Farther east, near Burgos (Gumiel de Mercado), the sites are at their highest elevations and the soils are sandy with alluvial and marl components. Each site is selected for its altitude, latitude, and soil composition. The vineyards contain old vines ranging from 20 to 102 years of age, 50% of which are pre-phylloxera.
Convento San Francisco is a blend of 90% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 10% Merlot. The wine is fermented in very small stainless steel vats and then aged in French and American barrels for a minimum of 12 months. Convento San Francisco is devoted to perfecting the expression of old vine Tempranillo, and in most years the winery produces just one wine.
Raquel Acebes Peña is the Wine Director at Convento San Francisco. She has been with the winery since 2003, where she began as the Laboratory Manager. Prior to that, Raquel help oenological positions at Legaris and Pago de Carraovejas in Ribera del Duero as well as at Marques de Riscal in Rueda.
Raquel studied at the University of Valladolid, where she received her degree in agricultural engineering in 1997. In the ensuing two years she researched and published a paper in the Spanish Society of Phytopathology on the characterization of Rhizoctonia solani, for which she won the award for best thesis. Two years later she returned to the university and received her degree in oenology.