We owed a report to the DO Ribera del Duero, one of the best known Spanish names in the world, thanks to those tempranillos (or ink of the country) so characteristic and identifiable that they convey the harshness of the Castilian-Leon climate and, therefore, that of its vast terrain.
Five keys to distinguish a Rioja from a Ribera del Duero
The only impediment was that they are so well known that it was difficult for us to find some with which to surprise readers with a Great value for the price, the policy that guides this section. There are, of course, and here we bring you to wineries that show it and some other that goes beyond what the Regulatory Council admits.
But, in addition, investigating, we find the small producers of the Ribera del Duero, congregated in Divine Ribera, which emerged as a support platform for independent winegrowers, with family wineries and with a deep respect for traditions. Winemakers who strive to produce “authentic wines, without artifice, recognizable by the identity stamp of each producer, because each wine is unique”.
Most of these are oak-style reds, those short aging in barrels which are made now to respect the variety more, instead of transforming it with the classic reserves that polished the tempranillo until it was disguised. But there are surprises!
one. Rubén Ramos Roble 2018: a tempranillo from the vineyards that Rubén Ramos cultivates in the municipality of Peñafiel with a six-month rest in oak barrels and subsequent maturation in the bottle. On the nose it is like entering a greengrocer, in fact, the aftertaste after passing through the mouth is also fruity. And it is so glyceric that the tear runs down the glass. 14% Vol and 6.50 euros.
2. Desalva oak 2018: a young, broad red, with an aromatic complexity and an unctuous subtlety in the mouth that is highly appreciated, with the fruit of the country ink very well sifted in the tannins and the touch of vanilla from its five months in oak barrels French and American. It is the work of Salvador Cristóbal, vintner of a small family winery located in Quintanilla de Arriba, Valladolid, who began by questioning that “if nature and feelings are not always the same, why should wine be”. 14% Vol and 7.10 euros.
3. Sarmentero Roble 2017: another semi-aging with 100% tempranillo from the Pago de Oyales and Pago de Peñuelas vineyards of the Sarmentero winery, which is aged for five months in barrels to give it that aroma of nuts and toasted wood, and that light, not heavy structure . At the first drink it is a bit astringent, but then it releases all its intense fruity expression of wild fruits and it goes smoothly. 14% Vol and 7.50 euros.
Four. Mogar Roble 2018: from the Pagos de Mogar winery, the Gold Medal was not won by chance in the Tempranillo World Cup, but rather its manual selection makes it more expressive than other commercial tempranillos, to which is added the semi-aging of five months in barrels of French and American oak. It respects the passion of red fruits, which are already sensed by the color of ripe cherry and black plum and remain in the papillae, where it lengthens like a caress and extends to the vanilla and caramelized touches typical of the wood. Delicate. 14.5% Vol and 8.05 euros.
5. Veronica Salgado Roble 2018 It is a velvety 100% red wine from the country that spends six months in the barrel and nine more in the bottle. A red with a brutal aroma of blackberry and menthol on the palate, vegetable and fresh, which won the gold in The International Wine Awards Spain 2020 competition with an excellent balance between acidity and alcohol. Verónica Salgado, oenologist at this family winery located in Pesquera de Duero, Valladolid, explains that “the very cold winters and short, hot summers allow us to grow our vineyards in an ecological way”, and that is why they are so special. This has 14% Vol and costs 10 euros.
6. ValdeBonita 2018: an albillo that, as the Ribera del Duero Regulatory Council does not accept the variety, has been assigned to the Wine of the Land of Castilla y León IGP. Coming from vines over 100 years old, with four months in the barrel, it is very herbaceous, reminiscent of a spicy olive, so different that you pair it with cheeses and suddenly aniseed notes come out. We owe it to the four madmen from Rudeles: Javier Ruperez, Antonio Ruperez, Juan Martín del Hoyo and Marcos Espinel, who saved these vineyards from their grandparents between the valley around Peñalba and Atauta, in Soria. 13.5% Vol and 9.90 euros.
7. Balbás Barrica 5: It is a contemporary red with five months in American oak, a good example of what the traditional family winery Balbás knows how to do with tempranillo, which has been a benchmark in the DO Ribera del Duero since 1777 from Burgos. Its aging in the barrel makes it sweet and long, very rich. 14% Vol and 8 euros.
8. Watchtower of Golbán Crianza 2016: It is a red that we bought in a small wine cellar in Soria because it was a monovarietal of fine ink from old vines, even pre-phylloxera, between 60 and 80 years old, produced by the Atalayas del Goldán Winery. It has been aged for 12 months that gives it those toasted and spicy memories. And it seems to us a very powerful red, ideal for a shoulder of lamb, which wins greatly with a decanter. 14.5% Vol and 9.60 euros.
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