Home > Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > 1998 Valdevegon From the Oldest Monastic Winery In Spain

1998 Valdevegon From the Oldest Monastic Winery In Spain


This spring I had the chance to taste a wine with a rather interesting history which arrived at MacArthur Beverages through the relationships of  Tommy Shimokado.  Tommy works at MacArthur Beverages and belongs to the youth program Escuela de Lidarzgo.  Through this program he met Antonia Blanco who has ties with several Catholic institutions in Spain one of which produces wine.  As Tommy works at a wine store a bottle was dispatched from the Cisterciense Orden Cardeña, Monasterio de San Pedro Cardeña.  The Monastery was founded at the end of the 9th century and has been producing wine since the 10th century.  This appears to make it the oldest commercial winery with residing religious monks.  The wine production has not been consistent having recently started again in 1965.  At the time the late Abbot Padre Sergio followed a Vatican ruling allowing the vow of silence to be broken so that the production of wine could resume.

Image by Almudena, Flickr, Under Creative Commons License

Image by Almudena, Flickr, Under Creative Commons License

The Monastery of San Pedro de Cardena is located some 125 miles north of Madrid in the village of Castillo de Val.  The monastery and vineyard are not located within the closest Denominacion de Origen Controlada (DOC).  As a result the bottles do not bear a vintage date nor a classification, though there was a lot number on our bottle with the vintage.  The monastery does have a vineyard located at 1,000 meters but they had difficulty ripening the fruit.  Thus the wine is mainly produced using purchased fruit and wine from Rioja.    The wine is racked every six months.  I tasted this wine right after the cork was pulled.  It tastes like a traditional, old-school Tempranillo based wine.  Once it is available I shall try it again to see how it develops with air.  This wine is not yet available in the United States as it is typically sold from the wine shop at the monastery.  Phil and Tommy are working with a local importer to bring the wine to MacArthur Beverages.


1998 Monasterio de San Pedro Cardeña, Valdevegon – 9 Euros in Spain
This wine is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha which was aged for two years in American oak.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The color was a medium garnet.  The nose bore old-school aromas, black fruit, and a little earth.  In the mouth there was drier fruit with a dry nature to the wine. The acidity was balanced.  There were old wood notes, some tannins, and in the brief time I tasted the wine it started to put on weight.

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