Ribera del Duero: Rich, Tempranillo-Based Wines

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Drink Ribera Tasting in San Francisco, photo courtesy Drink Ribera

If you like rich, complex, high quality red wines, you owe it to yourself to get to know the wines of Ribera del Duero. The steep vineyards rising along the banks of the Duero River in Spain’s second most important wine region, after Rioja, yield wines that are frequently outstanding.

The wines are red, the altitudes are high, and the grape is, overwhelmingly, Tempranillo. Actually it’s a local variant of Tempranillo, the early ripening variety known as Tinto Fino or Tinta del Pais in this area. It has adapted to the often harsh weather of the region and its extreme climactic fluctuations.

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old Tinto Fino vine in Ribera del Duero, photo courtesy Drink Ribera

Temperatures where the grapes are grown, at 2500 to 2800 feet above sea level (among the highest elevations for winegrowing in Europe), can reach over 100 degrees in the middle of summer yet fall sharply at night. These large temperature swings help promote balanced acidities and aromatic complexity. Winters are also harsh, and freezing temperatures can set in both during the beginning and end of the growing season.

The reputation for quality here began with one of the world’s great wines, Vega Sicilia’s Unico. This is a blend of Tempranillo with small amounts of Bordeaux varieties—Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec–that were brought to this region from Bordeaux by Vega Sicilia’s founder Don Eloy Lecanda Chaves in 1864.

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Unicos are long lived wines that are always highly rated and carry a hefty price tag: the current vintage of the Unico, 2002, sells in the U.S. for an average of $384. They also make a multi-year blend of the Unico that’s released in very small quantities from vintages that are at least ten years old. These Unico Reserva Especial bottlings used to only be available at the winery itself. The 2011 release I sampled was spectacular—complex and hedonistic. I rated it 99 points. A few retailers carry these wines in the U.S., where the average price is currently $464.

The producer whose success convinced others that Vega Sicilia was not an isolated occurrence for the region was Alejandro Fernández, an agricultural engineer and inventor who started a small winery in 1972 using a 16th century wine press. His Pesquera, a 100% Tempranillo, was first released in the early 1980s to high acclaim. The latest releases of these wines retail at $32 for the Crianza and $48 for the Reserva.

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The region was finally recognized with Denominación de Origen (D.O.) status in 1982. Other great producers that have followed in Fernández’s footsteps include Aalto, Alion, Dominio de Pingus, Emilio Moro, Pago de los Capellanes, and Pérez Pascuas.

The vineyard area of Ribera del Duero is roughly a third of that of Rioja, but the focus on the locally adapted Tempranillo really sets it apart. Tempranillo, or Tinto Fino, makes up 95% of production, followed by 1% Cabernet Sauvignon and a total of less than 1% all other reds–Merlot, Garnacha and Malbec. D.O. regulations require that the wines contain a minimum of 75% Tempranillo. A single white grape, Albillo, is also grown here primarily for local consumption. It amounts to 3% of production, but only red wines are permitted to carry the Ribera del Duero D.O. designation.

The aging requirements for traditional style wines are the same as those in Rioja. Cosecha, or Joven, wines usually see no oak. The Crianza designation is reserved for wines aged at least two years, including at least one in oak barrels. Reservas must be aged three years, at least one of those in barrel. Gran Reservas, from outstanding vintages, are aged a minimum of five years, including at least two in oak.

I’ve attended two Ribera del Duero tastings in recent months, including a major trade tasting last November sponsored by Drink Ribera, the marketing arm of the Consejo Regulador de Ribera del Duero. That tasting included a number of producers whose wines are, unfortunately, not represented by U.S. importers, and therefore not yet available to consumers here.

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The wines were impressive overall, rich and structured, with many exhibiting aromas and flavors of mulberry, blackberry and licorice, along with a sense of herbs. The wines I scored highest at this tasting that are available in the U.S. came from Alejandro Fernández, Comenge, Fuentespina, Gormaz, López Cristóbal, Matarromera, Montecastro, Renacimento de Olivares and Valduero. Other producers whose wines I’d very much like to see in this country are Abadia de Acón, Imperiales (some of the best wines of the tasting) and Valdeviñas. I also recently tasted the 2008 Aalto, which is quite delicious, but pricey at a U.S. average of $54.

The best values represented at the tasting were the 2009 Matarromera Melior, selling for $14, and the 2009 Gormaz 12 Linajes Crianza, which can be found for $28. Prices on the other wines available here range from the low $30s to high $40s.

For information on traveling to this region, visit the Drink Ribera website. For my tasting notes on several vintages of Vega Sicilia Unico and all the wines poured at the Drink Ribera tasting, see below.

VEGA SICILIA and UNICO Tastings

  • 2006 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Valbuena 5° – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (4/6/2012)
    Dark red violet color; appealing, baked berry, ripe black fruit, mulberry, anise nose; tasty, ripe black fruit, mulberry, chocolate palate with integrated oak; needs 2-3 years; medium-plus finish 92+ points (80% Tempranillo, 20% Merlot & Malbec) (92 points)
  • 2011 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Unico Reserva Especial – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (11/25/2011)
    Very dark red violet color; rich, amazing, effusive, mulberry, dried berry, black raspberry, floral, violet nose; rich, youthful, hedonistic and complex, dried berry, mulberry, lavender, blackberry palate; needs 5-plus years; long finish (99 points)
  • 1995 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (4/26/2008)
    Vega Sicilia Unico vertical dinner: dark red violet color; tight lavender, currant and black fruit nose; lovely currant and tangy black fruit palate, tight and young yet; long finish (96 points)
  • 1994 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (4/26/2008)
    Vega Sicilia Unico vertical dinner: charcoal, black fruit nose; tangy, tight, tart black fruit, sweet berry and charcoal palate; tangy medium-plus finish (93 points)
  • 1991 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (4/26/2008)
    Vega Sicilia Unico vertical dinner: tight berry and plum nose; delicious, tangy black fruit, plum, spice and cumin; medium-plus finish (95 points)
  • 1990 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (4/26/2008)
    Vega Sicilia Unico vertical dinner: tight, spicy, smoky plum and American oak nose; tangy, tart black fruit, plum; medium-plus finish 93+ pts. (93 points)
  • 1989 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (4/8/2011)
    Bricked medium dark red violet color; rich, evocative, dried berry, mushroom, autumnal, woodsy, tart nose; youthful, rich, complex, dried berry, tart black fruit, berry palate with medium acidity; long finish 96+ points (96 points)
  • 1987 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (4/26/2008)
    Vega Sicilia Unico vertical dinner: plum, black fruit and chocolate nose; tangy, smoky, tart plum palate with good acidity; medium-plus finish 94+ pts. (94 points)
  • 1987 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (9/6/2007)
    Dark garnet red color; mulberry, raspberry, berry and dried mushroom nose with a touch of beef jus; yummy, meaty, almost Syrah-like roasted meat palate with cranberry, very youthful; long finish (94 points)
  • 1985 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (4/26/2008)
    Vega Sicilia Unico vertical dinner: smoky, Chinese barbecue and clove nose; tangy, tasty, smoky beef jus, leather and black fruit; medium finish 92+ pts. (92 points)
  • 1981 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (4/26/2008)
    Vega Sicilia Unico vertical dinner: plum, tart black fruit and currant nose; tasty, most resolved of all, tart black fuit and sweet beef jus; medium-plus finish (94 points)

RIBERA DEL DUERO TRADE TASTING and Retail Store Tasting – Port Commission Hearing Room, Ferry Plaza Building San Francisco and San Francisco Wine Trading Company

AAlto

  • 2008 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero AAlto – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Opaque purple red violet color; appealing, ripe berry, black fruit, ripe plum, fine French oak nose; tasty, tart plum, tart berry, currant palate; needs 6 years; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 points)

Abadía de Acón

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  • 2010 Abadía de Acón Ribera del Duero Roble – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; appealing, ripe berry, blackberry, sage, smoke nose; tasty, ripe berry, blackberry, black fruit, violets palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 points)

Alejandro Fernández

  • 2009 Bodegas Alejandro Fernández Ribera del Duero Crianza Pesquera – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; redolent, tart berry, herbs, green tobacco nose; plush, ripe currant, plum, spice palate; medium-plus finish (91 points)
  • 2008 Bodegas Alejandro Fernández Ribera del Duero Tinto Pesquera Reserva – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark ruby color; aromatic, dried berry, tart plum nose; tasty, tart plum, tart berry, dried berry, light brett palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 points)

Barco de Piedra

  • 2011 Bodegas Barco de Piedra Ribera del Duero – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark purple red violet color; lifted, tart black fruit, tart berry nose; baked black fruit, violets palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 points)

Briego

  • 2010 Bodegas Briego Ribera del Duero Tinto Roble – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; appealing, tart berry, garrigue, baked blackberry nose; tight, tar, tart black fruit, licorice palate; medium-plus finish (91 points)

Comenge

  • 2009 Comenge Ribera del Duero – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; appealing, tart berry, baked cherry nose; rich, tart berry, baked cherry palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (14 mos in 85% French, 15% American oak) (90 points)
  • 2009 Comenge Ribera del Duero Don Miguel Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark ruby color; cherry syrup, baked berry nose; rich, silky textured, cherry syrup, baked berry, violets palate; long finish (w/ 10% Cabernet Sauvignon; 18 mos in French oak; made only in good years) (92 points)

Condado de Haza

  • 2008 Condado de Haza Ribera del Duero – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark cherry red color; brett, herbs, dried berry nose; brett, herbs, tart currant palate; medium-plus finish (87 points)

Convento San Francisco

  • 2006 Convento San Francisco S.L. Ribera del Duero – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Bricking dark red violet color; mature, dried herbs, olive, currant nose; mature, dried herbs, olive, currant palate; long finish 90+ points (90 points)

Dehesa Valdelaguna

  • 2009 Bodegas Dehesa Valdelaguna Ribera del Duero Montelaguna Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Opaque purple red violet color; intense, herbs, dill, tart black fruit nose; herbs, green olive, tart black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (86 points)

Diez Llorente

  • 2009 Bodegas Diez Llorente Ribera del Duero Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Opaque purple red violet color; oak, brett, anise, dried berry nose; brett, tart dried berry palate; medium-plus finish (89 points)

El Lagar de Isilla

  • 2010 Bodegas El Lagar de Isilla S.A. Ribera del Duero Roble – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark ruby color; green olive, tart currant nose; green olive, tart currant palate; needs 1-2 years; medium-plus finish (5 mos in oak; w/5% Cabernet Sauvignon) (87 points)
  • 2009 Bodegas El Lagar de Isilla S.A. Ribera del Duero Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Medium dark ruby color; ripe currant, baked plum nose; tasty, rich, baked plum, black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (14 mos in 50/50 French and American oak) (90 points)

Emina

  • 2010 Emina Ribera del Duero – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark ruby color; redolent, tart currant, herbs nose; tart currant, herbs palate; needs 2 years; medium-plus finish (88 points)
  • 2009 Emina Ribera del Duero Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark ruby color; redolent, baked berry, chocolate nose; baked berry, chocolate palate; medium-plus finish (89 points)
  • 2006 Emina Ribera del Duero Prestigio – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Bricking, very dark red violet color; oak, dried herbs nose; dried herbs, ripe currant palate; medium-plus finish (89 points)

Felix Callejo

  • 2010 Bodegas Felix Callejo Ribera del Duero Flores de Callejo – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark purple red violet color; ripe currant, herb nose; tight, ripe currant, herb, tart plum palate; medium-plus finish (6 mos in French oak) (88 points)
  • 2007 Bodegas Felix Callejo Ribera del Duero Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark ruby color; appealing, tart berry, oak nose; tasty, plush, youthful, tart berry, sandalwood palate; medium-plus finish 89+ points (89 points)
  • 2006 Bodegas Felix Callejo Ribera del Duero Reserva – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; redolent, ripe berry, vanilla, baked berry nose; coffee, dried fig palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 points)

Fuentespina

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  • 2006 Bodegas Fuentespina Ribera del Duero Reserva – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark purple red violet color; appealing, mature, prune, tart blackberry, tar nose; saline, tart berry, mineral, dried berry palate; ready now; medium-plus finish (92 points)

Gormaz

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  • 2010 Bodegas Gormaz Ribera del Duero Viña Gormaz – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; tart plum, olive nose; tart plum, olive, herbaceous palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 points)
  • 2009 Bodegas Gormaz Ribera del Duero 12 Linajes Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Medium dark purple red violet color; redolent, dried berry, lilac nose; tasty, youthful, tart berry, dried berry, tart plum palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 points)

Hemar

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  • 2011 Hemar Ribera del Duero 7 Meses – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark purple red violet color; appealing, baked berry, boysenberry, pie crust nose; tart baked berry, boysenberry, licorice palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 points)

Hijos de Antonio Barceló

  • 2010 Hijos de Antonio Barceló Ribera del Duero Viña Mayor Tinto Roble – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; ripe currant, tart plum nose; tart currant, tart plum palate; medium-plus finish (87 points)
  • 2007 Hijos de Antonio Barceló Ribera del Duero Viña Mayor Secreto Reserva – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; ripe currant, plum nose; ripe currant, plum palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (10 mos in French oak) (88 points)
  • 2003 Hijos de Antonio Barceló Ribera del Duero Viña Mayor Gran Reserva – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark red violet color; redolent, ripe currant, baked cherry nose; tasty, ripe currant, baked cherry palate; medium-plus finish 89+ points (89 points)

Imperiales

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  • 2011 Bodegas Imperiales Ribera del Duero 6 Meses Abadia de San Quirce – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark ruby color; aromatic, tart currant, tobacco nose; tasty, ripe currant, olive palate; medium-plus finish (88 points)
  • 2008 Bodegas Imperiales Ribera del Duero Crianza Abadia de San Quirce – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Medium dark red violet color; redolent, dried berry, floral, light herb nose; tasty, dried berry, floral, light herb, tart berry palate; medium-plus finish (91 points)
  • 2006 Bodegas Imperiales Ribera del Duero Finca Helena Abadia de San Quirce – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark ruby color; appealing, ripe raspberry, raspberry jam, dried berry nose; tasty, creamy textured, raspberry syrup, berry syrup palate with good acidity and a sense of salinity on the finish; long finish (from 100 yr old Tempranillo vines) (93 points)
  • 2004 Bodegas Imperiales Ribera del Duero Reserva Abadia de San Quirce – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark ruby color; appealing, tart berry, black raspberry nose; tasty, rich, youthful, tart berry, tart cherry, black cherry palate; medium-plus finish 93+ points (93 points)

Ismael Arroyo

  • 2009 Bodegas Ismael Arroyo Ribera del Duero Crianza Val Sotillo – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; ripe plum, black fruit, pie crust nose; tasty, baked black fruit, baked berry palate; medium-plus finish (89 points)

Kirios de Adrada

  • 2008 Kirios de Adrada Ribera del Duero – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Opaque purple red violet color; appealing, ripe berry, baked berry, violets nose; tasty, tart berry, violets palate with near medium acidity; medium-plus finish (91 points)

Linaje Garsea

  • 2011 Linaje Garsea Ribera del Duero Selected Harvest – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; ripe currant, tart berry, vanilla nose; rich, ripe currant, tart berry, vanilla palate; medium-plus finish (6 mos in French and America oak) (90 points)
  • 2011 Linaje Garsea Ribera del Duero Joven – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; appealing, ripe currant, berry nose; plush, baked berry, spice palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (from 22 yr old vines; 3 mos in French and American oak) (88 points)
  • 2009 Linaje Garsea Ribera del Duero Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; appealing, floral, tart cherry, tart raspberry nose; tight, tart raspberry, tart cherry, oak palate; needs 3 years; medium-plus finish (15 mos in French and American oak) (90 points)
  • 2007 Linaje Garsea Ribera del Duero Reserva – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark purple red violet color; redolent, ripe currant, tart plum nose; ripe currant, tart plum palate with good acidity; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 points)

López Cristóbal

  • 2009 López Cristóbal Ribera del Duero Bagús – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Nearly opaque purple red violet color; dried herbs, charcoal, tart black fruit nose; appealing, tart black fruit, charcoal palate; medium-plus finish (91 points)

Marqués de Velilla

  • 2011 Marqués de Velilla Ribera del Duero Joven – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark purple red violet color; tart black fruit, olive, tart currant nose; tart currant, olive palate; medium-plus finish (88 points)

Martin Berdugo

  • 2010 Martin Berdugo Ribera del Duero Barrica – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Medium dark cherry red color; fresh, ripe currant, tart red berry nose; ripe currant, tart red berry palate; medium finish 88+ points (88 points)
  • 2009 Martin Berdugo Ribera del Duero Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark cherry red color; appealing, tart berry, vanilla nose; tasty, tart berry, vanilla palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 points)

Matarromera

  • 2009 Bodegas Matarromera Ribera del Duero Melior – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark ruby color; olive, tart black fruit nose; tasty, tart black fruit, mocha, ripe currant, olive palate; medium-plus finish (91 points)
  • 2008 Bodegas Matarromera Ribera del Duero Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark red violet color; floral, dried currant nose; plush, ripe currant, herbs, tart black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (90 points)
  • 2006 Bodegas Matarromera Ribera del Duero Reserva – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark red violet color; redolent, dried cherry, herbs, anise nose; plush, tasty, dried cherry, herbs, anise, baked plum palate; medium-plus finish (18 mos in oak) (91 points)

Monteabellón

  • 2011 Bodegas Monteabellón Avaniel Ribera del Duero – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark purple red violet color; appealing, herbs, tart black fruit nose; tasty, herbs, tart black fruit, ripe currant palate; medium-plus finish (89 points)
  • 2008 Monteabellón Ribera del Duero 5 Mesas en Barrica – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark red violet color; herbs, tobacco, brett nose; herbs, tobacco, brett palate; medium-plus finish 87+ points (87 points)

Montecastro

  • 2007 Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro Ribera del Duero Montecastro y Llanahermosa – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark red violet color; ripe currant, dill, black fruit, pepper nose; tart black fruit, pepper, tar palate; medium-plus finish (50% new oak, 70% French, 25% American & 5% Lithuanian) (91 points)

O. Fournier

  • 2009 Bodega O. Fournier Ribera del Duero Urban Ribera – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark purple red violet color; redolent, tart black fruit, tar nose; tar, tart black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (88 points)
  • 2006 Bodega O. Fournier Ribera del Duero Alfa Spiga – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Opaque purple red violet color; appealing, ripe berry, black fruit nose; ripe berry, black fruit, lavender palate; long finish 90+ points (20 mos in barrel) (90 points)
  • 2004 Bodega O. Fournier Ribera del Duero – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Opaque purple red violet color; redolent, licorice, baked berry nose; rich, baked berry, black fruit, licorice palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 points)

Páramo Arroyo

  • 2010 Páramo Arroyo Ribera del Duero Eremus Roble – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; charcoal, herbs, dried berry nose; charcoal, herbs, dried berry palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 points)

Páramo de Guzmán

  • 2011 Páramo de Guzmán Ribera del Duero Raiz – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark purple red violet color; appealing, herbs, anise, tart black fruit nose; tasty, tart black fruit, dried herbs palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 points)

Pascual

  • 2009 Bodegas Pascual Ribera del Duero Buró de Peñalosa Seleccion Especial Cosecha – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; violets, licorice, ripe black fruit nose; ripe berry, violets palate; needs 1-2 years; medium-plus finish 91+ points (10 mos in oak) (91 points)

Pingó

  • 2011 Bodegas Pingón Ribera del Duero Tinto Roble Carramimbre – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark purple red violet color; fresh, carbonic maceration, ripe currant nose; plush, ripe currant, herbs palate with integrating oak; medium-plus finish (4 mos in oak) (89 points)

Protos

  • 2009 Bodegas Protos Ribera del Duero – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark red violet color; baked cherry, oak nose; baked cherry, oak, baked berry palate; medium-plus finish (16 mos in oak) (87 points)
  • 2008 Bodegas Protos Ribera del Duero Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark red violet color; olive, tart currant nose; tasty, plush, maturing, tart currant, tart plum palate; medium-plus finish (14 mos in oak, 12 mos in bottle) (89 points)
  • 2006 Bodegas Protos Ribera del Duero Protos Reserva – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark red violet color; redolent, tart plum, dried and salty plum nose; tart plum, dried and salty plum palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (18 mos in oak, 2 yrs in bottle) (90 points)

Renacimento de Olivares

  • 2005 Bodega Renacimento de Olivares Ribera del Duero Rento – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark red violet color; appealing, lifted, baked plum, licorice nose; tasty, baked plum, licorice, black fruit palate; long finish (all new French and American oak; only made in good years) (92 points)

Ribón

  • 2009 Bodegas y Viñedos Ribón S.L. Ribera del Duero Ribón, Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Opaque purple red violet color; intriguing, tart plum, roasted black fruit, tar, herbs nose; tasty, tart black fruit, herbs, tar palate; medium-plus finish (90 points)

Solterra

  • 2009 Compañia Vinícola Solterra Ribera del Duero Alto de Los Zorros – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; licorice, baked berry, baked black cherry nose; tasty, rich, tart baked berry, black cherry, tar palate; long finish 91+ points (91 points)

Tierras de Peñafiel

  • 2009 Bodegas Tierras de Peñafiel Ribera del Duero Ruben Ramos Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark purple red violet color; lifted, baked plum, satsuma plum nose; tart plum, tart black fruit palate; medium finish (89 points)

Tinto Figuero

  • 2008 Tinto Figuero Ribera del Duero – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark cherry red color; redolent, baked berry, smoke nose; baked berry, smoke, dill palate; medium-plus finish 86+ points (86 points)
  • 2004 Tinto Figuero Ribera del Duero Reserva – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Medium dark red violet color; redolent, oak, ripe currant, cherry nose; oak, ripe currant, cherry palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (15 mos in barrel) (88 points)

Torremoron

  • 2010 Torremoron Ribera del Duero – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark purple red violet color; sweet herbs, tart berry, violets nose; sweet herbs, tart berry, violets palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 points)

Valdeviñas

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  • 2004 Bodegas Valdeviñas Ribera del Duero Crianza Mirat – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark purple red violet color; redolent, ripe plum, dried berry, light oak nose; tasty, maturing, dried berry, tart black fruit, mulberry, tart blackberry palate with depth and medium acidity; medium-plus finish (92 points)

Valdubón

  • 2010 Valdubón Ribera del Duero Cosecha – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Medium dark red violet color; baked berry, plum nose; baked berry, plum palate; medium-plus finish (88 points)
  • 2007 Valdubón Ribera del Duero Reserva – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark red violet color; redolent, olive, tobacco nose; tart black fruit, tobacco, olive palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 points)

Valduero

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  • 2007 Bodegas Valduero Ribera del Duero Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark red violet color; redolent, herbs, tart black fruit nose; tart black fruit, herbs, mocha palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 points)
  • 2005 Bodegas Valduero Ribera del Duero Reserva – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark red violet color; redolent, baked cherry, oak nose; rich, plush, ripe cherry, berry palate; long finish (2 yrs in oak, 2 in bottle) (91 points)
  • 2009 Bodegas Valduero Ribera del Duero Una Cepa – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark ruby color; redolent, dried herb, tart black fruit, brett nose; dried herb, tart black fruit, brett palate; medium-plus finish (91 points)

Vina Arnaiz

  • 2009 Vina Arnaiz Ribera del Duero Roble – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark purple red violet color; fresh, tart plum, berry, carbonic maceration nose; carbonic maceration, baked berry, violets palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 points)
  • 2008 Vina Arnaiz Ribera del Duero Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very dark purple red violet color; baked plum nose; baked plum, ripe black fruit palate; medium finish (88 points)

Yllera

  • 2009 Bodegas Yllera Ribera del Duero Bracamonte Roble – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark cherry red color; anise, herbs, baked plum nose; baked plum, tart cherry palate; medium finish (6 mos in French and American oak) (88 points)
  • 2006 Bodegas Yllera Ribera del Duero Bracamonte Crianza – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Dark red violet color; tart cherry, baked berry nose; rich, baked berry, ripe red berry, vanilla palate; medium-plus finish 89+ points (1 yr in French & American oak, 14 mos in bottle) (89 points)
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