Bold and powerful, the wines of Ribera del Duero are a unique expression of what is arguably Spain's greatest variety, Tempranillo. This is a region blessed with old vineyards and a long history of wine production, though many of the most familiar producers are relatively young operations. The fact that the region has only recently come of age means that traditions are loosely defined, allowing producers the freedom to explore what we would consider both traditional and modern wine making with little resistance from the marketplace.
For a wine writer, that means fewer preconceived notions about what a wine from Ribera should be, and as you can see from the various reports included in this article, that generated quite a bit of excitement and interest in the potential of these fine wines. Read on to learn more about the power and the glory that is Ribera del Deuro.
The Reverse Wine Snob
As you may remember from my post on Oregon wine a couple weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be included in a sponsored media trip to New York by Snooth as part of their People's Voice Awards. That excellent seminar (Oregon Wine - Pinot Noir and Much Much More) was the first of many. Today I have another favorite from the weekend, this time on Ribera Del Duero, Spain. And, of course, this wouldn't be The Reverse Wine Snob if we didn't have some recommendations for you so below I've also selected my three top values from this excellent region interspersed with some information about Ribera Del Duero!
I was first introduced to the wines of Ribera del Duero several years ago while vacationing in the Adirondack Mountains in Lake Placid, New York. My husband and I were still just discovering our love for wines made from Tempranillo, and one stood out on the menu of the restaurant we were dining at. I wrote about that experience here. The wine, Condado de Haza, Crianza, was incredibly memorable and we’ve been buying it regularly ever since.
Since then I’ve had the opportunity to taste hundreds of wines from several of Spain’s regions, and to this day the wines from Ribera remain among my favorite.
From one wine tasting to the next, our group of wine writers that gathered in New York City last month, for the Snooth People’s Voice Wine Awards, were lucky enough to be a part of several wine tasting Master Classes that focused on different wine regions around the world. As it just so commonly happens, wherever there is good wine, there is good food. For the Ribera del Duero tasting, we not only tried some stellar Spanish wine, but the food was right on par with the wine at New York’s Spanish-centric restaurant, Salinas. If we could have added a touch of salty sea spray into the air, I would have thought I was back in Barcelona – one of my favorite cities in the world.
There are many fine wine producing regions in Spain, each offering its own unique set of influences and styles. Recently I had the opportunity to focus on the Ribera Del Duero, an area located about 80 miles due north of Madrid. This area, like so many in Spain, focuses on Tempranillo, an outstanding varietal that can be vinified into both simple wines of solid value, as well as those of elegance and stature.
Benito's Wine Reviews
During my weekend in New York, I kept getting whisked away to a different cuisine or wine region every few hours. At moments, I was reminded of the classic quip "If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium." And thus on Saturday at noon, we gathered for lunch at the Spanish restaurant Salinas in Chelsea, featuring the wines of Ribera del Duero.
The V.I.P. Table
I’m about to leave my comfort zone. Let’s face it, having a comfort zone is a bad thing for anyone that credits themselves as a student, teacher—heck, professional in any way. For me, my comfort zone was always Italy, with a little France, Germany and Napa mixed in. However, the longer I wrote about wine, the more regions I explored and now I’ve found myself off the deep end. There is more great wine out there than you or I could ever imagine. So today, I’m keeping it a little old world, yet new to me just the same, with Ribera del Duero.
My Vine Spot
Following a pretty nice Brazilian “liquid” breakfast, we packed our belongings and walked several blocks to Salinas restaurant for a Ribera del Duero luncheon. Salinas is located in the heart of Chelsea (Manhattan) and specializes in Spanish cuisine and tapas. Leading us through this tasting and luncheon were top sommelier and representative for Ribera del Duero, Roger Kugler, and Snooth's editor-in-chief, Gregory Dal Piaz.