Antonio Banderas is known to millions as a star of stage and screen, but few people know that he is now a partner in Ribera del Duero’s Bodegas Anta Banderas. Wine Enthusiast recently caught up with him just after shooting wrapped on Woody Allen’s latest movie in London.
Wine Enthusiast: When did you decide to make wine?
Antonio Banderas: I became interested in making wine years ago. I had been looking for years for a winery that was passionate about making wine. Creating art is important to me. Making wine is creating art. I get enormous pleasure watching grapes grow and mature. I have a passion for growing grapes and making wine. It is hard to explain in words—but I can say this—it is a feeling that I have in my heart.
WE: Why did you choose the region of Ribera del Duero to make wine?
AB: Ribera del Duero has good winemakers. They have always had good winemakers. They have romantic ideas about wine. This is very important to me.
WE: How did you become involved with Bodegas Anta Banderas?
AB: I was introduced to Bodegas Anta and the Ortega family by a relative. When I tasted the wines that Bodegas Anta had been making for 12 years and met Teodoro Ortega, I knew that I had found the right match for my project. We have been working together for just about 10 months now and have recently changed the name to Bodegas Anta Banderas.
WE: How many bottles are you making per year?
AB: Currently we are producing 600,000 bottles per year and it is our goal to increase production to 2 million bottles per year within the next 3 years. We will be able to increase production without losing quality. This is very important to us.
WE: How would you describe the landscape of Ribera del Duero?
AB: Ribera del Duero is so different than where I grew up, in Andalucia, where the mountains come right to the sea, and the architecture is Moorish. In Ribera, the city of Burgos is Medieval, with a beautiful Gothic cathedral. Yes, there are mountains to the north, but this area is a vast plain that is lavish with water. Everywhere you look you see green crisscrossed by rivers. This is truly the heart of Spain.
WE: And could you also describe the perfect wine from Ribera?
AB: It has a feeling of velvet in the mouth, with hidden tannins, tremendous depth and complexity, and the taste and smell of bacon and meat. I don’t like very aggressive wines, wines that go tat-tat-tattat-tat in your mouth. Ours is fruity, it is only in oak for four months, and that to me is a good example of how a wine should taste. It is mostly Tempranillo, with a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. I like a wine which has great depth but doesn’t come on too strong.
WE: If you were to spend tonight drinking wine while watching a movie, what would the wine be, and what would the movie be?
AB: Oh, that is very easy. The movie would be the classic Italian-American film The Godfather, and the wine would be a Vega Sicilia. It is a little play on words—Vega Sicilia is one of the great wines of Ribera del Duero and all of Spain, but the “Sicilia” part ties it into The Godfather and Sicily.
WE: What’s next for Antonio Banderas?
AB: This is down the road, but I would like to produce a sweet wine from Moscatel grapes in Malaga or Competa. It is important to me to make a wine from “mi tierra”—my land.