Valdecuriel and its winged stag
The legend behind our new winery brand in Ribera
Through the entrance of the cave, he saw the white rocks at the top of the cliff in front of him turn orange. It was the signal. Dawn was breaking and he leapt up from his bed, made of stone, sackcloth and grasses. He approached the opening of the grotto and the small valley appeared before his eyes, with its rows of vines below. Like the new day, the plants were also waking up. Their tender leaves swayed in the breeze of that early June morning. The air was still cold.
The hermit contemplated the landscape, the same scenery that had kept him company for the last seven years. The same stillness, which was only disturbed in October, when the villagers went there for the grape harvest. But it was different today. A small wave rippled across the hillside. A fleeting, nervous movement, sliding swiftly. He saw the thyme bushes tremble amidst transitory clouds of white dust. The pine trees shook and the strange shockwave moved further up, almost to the edge of the barren plateau that crowned the valley.
The tremor stopped. Suddenly, at the top of the cliff, right by the orange painted stones, he saw it clearly. The brown, sturdy body, supported by muscular legs. The head, with the large antlers of a full-grown stag. On the animal's loin, two huge golden eagle's wings. The sight lasted a few seconds. Then, in one leap, the impressive creature flew swiftly away and disappeared behind the edge of the desert wasteland.
For a long time the hermit wondered whether that vision had been real or just the last dream at dawn. He spent full days feeding only on berries and roots, and it was not unusual for him to fall into a sort of delusional state. But this was different. He remembered it well, he even recalled the quivering skin and the iridescent feathers, the peculiar smell carried by the morning air into the cave. All of it made him feel it was real, yet his mind insisted: there could be nothing like it on the face of the earth.
He became obsessed to the point of walking down to the nearest village, Curiel de Duero, to borrow some parchment and paintbrushes from the castle and use them to sketch the ephemeral image of that creature, half deer, half raptor. His drawing lingered for a long time in the archives, but as time passed, the turbulences of history finally turned it into an increasingly vague memory. The revelation of the hermit survived only as a legend, the tale of a strange mythological animal that wanders and grazes among the vineyards and moorland in crisp dawns, where only dark bushes emerge from the dry slopes.
The new brand draws its inspiration from the old legend
When we acquired the Valdecuriel winery, in the heart of Ribera del Duero, it was almost by chance that we discovered the existence of this legend. We are as passionate about old stories as we are about natural landscapes, which abound in the winery's surroundings, with their indigenous vegetation and wildlife. It is not uncommon to spot roe deer, wild boar and dozens of birds of all kinds close to the vineyards, in the pine and holm oak forests and close to the limestone caves that centuries ago were occupied by shepherds and hermits. The place exudes an air of solitude and a touch of mystery. The estate and its vines, lofty and beautiful, resemble an outpost of civilisation penetrating into the unknown.
In this site, where the crops grow on the fringes of the rugged countryside, it is no wonder that enigmatic visions have surfaced in the past. So when creating the new Valdecuriel brand, we adopted the mythological image of the winged stag as a symbol. For us it means the connection to an original natural state, but also the magical quality of the vineyards and the most special wines.