Meet Ribera del Duero

Meet Ribera del Duero

Meet Ribera del Duero

Meet Ribera del Duero

Ribera del Duero is a Spanish wine region, located in the north central area of Castilla Y León not too far away (as the crow flies) from well known Rioja. Ribera del Duero DO (Denominación de Origen) is a small region that packs a big punch with wine lovers worldwide.

Wines are predominantly red from Tempranillo (Tinto Fino) grapes that are grown on silty limestone, chalky soils in very harsh climatical conditions (hot summers, cold winters, low rainfall). Some white wine is produced from the Albillo grape but is generally sold locally and little is exported.

Red wines must be 75% Tempranillo but are often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot. 100% Tempranillo wines are also produced.

The area is very popular with experienced growers from other regions and is the home of Vega Sicilia - the world famous blend that is considered to be the benchmark for Ribera del Duero wine.

Meet Ribera del Duero

The wines of Ribera del Duero are terroir driven, long-aging and complex.

With the same aging requirements as Rioja, these wines are available as: 

Joven (aged for 12 months - may or may not be oaked) 

Crianza (aged for 2 years, 12 months of that in oak)

Reserva (aged for 3 years, 12 months of that in oak)

Gran Reserva (aged for a total of 5 years, 24 months in oak).

It's here that the similarities end however.

It's true that Ribera del Duero is made with Tempranillo and therefore has characteristics of red cherry, plum, vanilla, leather, tobacco BUT  the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot to the blend makes the wine incredibly deep, dark and complex with strong tannin, very similar to big Bordeaux wines.

These wines are very attractive to those who like to drink New World wines as are more approachable to the palate both for fruit, use of oak and "heat" (alcohol %).

Ribera del Duero wine is still affordable (unless you opt for Vega Sicilia - which isn't!) and you can find bottles that start around the £10 mark. Obviously the price goes up as the age of the wine increases. 

Be prepared for a big, bold, high tannin but smooth, dark fruity, tobacco-y wine.  

Made for food especially grilled meats and vegetables, dried meats, manchego cheese and of course Chorizo!


Here are a few Ribera del Duero wines to try:

Montecastrillo 2015 Ribera del Duero  - from Majestic Wine / UK

Emilio Moro 2015 Ribera del Duero  - from Majestic Wine / UK

Cillar de Silos Torresilo - from Waitrose Wine / UK

Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez Condado de Haza 2011 - from Dan Murphy's / Australia


Vega Sicilia

Vega Sicilia "Unico" demands "special" prices - so if anyone wants to buy one to share with me i'd be happy to oblige!

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