Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ribera del Duero: Digging a Little Deeper

Recently, I've been receiving a serious education on the wines of Ribera del Duero. Why? Well, it all started with a tasting in March that truly opened my eyes to what's possible in this region of Spain, which is too often overshadowed by the likes of Rioja and Priorat. So why are these wines so great? For me, it's a balance between ripeness and early accessibility versus structure, depth and finesse. You see, Ribera del Duero manages to walk the tightrope between the two styles, and the results are stunning.

These are serious reds that can be playful at the same time. They will accompany your meal with strides, while also filling your glasses well into a night of deep conversations. What strikes me, as I sip from my glass, is perfectly ripe fruit, earth tones, great acidity and broad structures that add to the experience instead of drying you out. What’s more, the expert use of oak is neither too little, nor too much.

In a recent tasting, the two wines below truly stuck out to me for their amazing depth, pure fruit and sheer sex appeal. The first is a great bottle that won't break the bank and will do well at the table or on the couch. The second wine, Malleolus, truly floored me. What a beautiful wine. It was lush and textured, with a balanced structure that promised a great trajectory in the cellar. It's a little pricy, but worth every penny. Did I mention that the first thing I did after this tasting was buy a few of these for my cellar? I think that says it all.

For a more detailed look at the wines of Ribera del Duero, check out my report from earlier this year, "Ribera del Duero: Thriving through Adversity"

On to the Wines:

2011 Bodegas Cuevas Jimenéz Ribera del Duero Ferratus A0 - The nose showed intense red berry, ginger, hints minerals, dark earth and woodland tones. On the palate, it was silky smooth with balanced acidity, ripe dark fruits and herbs accentuated by a hint of heat. The palate-staining finish lasted long with blackberry and spice. Again, the alcohol peaks out a bit on the finish yet it’s not dramatic, resulting in a rich and provocative wine. (89 points) Find it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Bodegas Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero Malleolus - The nose showed rich dark berry, blueberry skins, brown sugar, vanilla and a whiff of gravel dust, along with hints of barnyard. On the palate, it was feminine and elegant with an unexpected weightless sensation complemented by focused ripe fruits and hints of holiday spice. Very young but impeccably balanced. It finished fresh but with berry extract saturating the senses. (92 points) Find it on: Wine-Searcher!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Eric. I am Sommelier from France and here in the US and I agree with completely with your comments regarding Ribera del Duero. I tried some many wineries there on site and here in the States and also an excellent Winery which as an interesting portfolio is Viña Vilano. They carry from an entry level Tempranillo up to the Reserva. In general the characteristics of RD are outstanding and more towards the new trends in the industry. Regards. Tania

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