|A Magnificent Scene in Ribera del Duero|
The event was held at Salinas Restaurant, in New York's Chelsea neighborhood, and sponsored by Snooth, and Drink Ribera del Duero. For the record, the service, food, and decor were all excellent, and I hope to visit again soon for a regular sit down meal. On this occasion, we were a room full of bloggers from across the United States, with twelve different wines before us, all from Ribera del Duero. It was a great opportunity to see the range of quality and styles that the region has to offer.
Guiding us through the tasting was top sommelier, Roger Kugler, who shared many interesting facts about the wines and the region. For example, did you know that it can be as cold as -10 degrees Fahrenheit during the Ribera del Duero winter? That, along with other factors, makes this a challenging wine making location for the approximately 280 producers there. It is located not far from the better known Rioja region, but is at a slightly higher elevation.The Tempranillo grape, known locally as Tinto Fino, must make up at least 75% of the blend in order for a wine to have the Ribera del Duero D.O. designation. Oh and one more thing, Roger says they love visitors, so keep that in mind on your next trip to Europe.
If you would like to learn more about Ribera Del Duero, visit Drink Ribera del Duero. http://www.drinkriberawine.com/
Scroll down for my notes and comments on the wines.
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2001 Valduero Gran Reserva, "Explotaciones" $160
This wine showed great finesse on the nose and palate, with blackberry, tobacco, some mint on the nose. The palate was light to medium in weight, with more lean blackberry and tobacco notes. Very nice, although it loses a bit of momentum on the finish. 90 Pts
Here is a tasting note I wrote in 2010 on the 1994 Valduero Reserva. Current vintages of this are selling for around $35.
1994 Valduero Reserva
What a great QPR wine! Deep garnet with a hint of brick on the edge. Pronounced nose of mature mushroom, stewed cherries, and earth. Medium weight with cured meats, some black pepper and warm spices. The modest finish is gently warm with nice acid and fine tannins.
The nose is pronounced and beautiful, with focused dartk black cherry / blackberry fruit, and some floral notes on top. The palate is interesting in that, in addition to the blackberry fruit, there is a cream - caffe macchiato kind of note which is not unpleasant. The finish is firm, with notes of grilled meat and aromatic wood. 90 Pts.
2006 Bodegas Convento San Francisco, S.L., Convento San Francisco, $34
Fragrant dried herbs, blended with dusty, dried blackberry on the nose. On the palate there’s lots of earth and forest floor to go along with the lean blackberry fruit. Later on the palate a note of tomato juice began to show and caramel spice on the nose. Firm on the finish. This has a good level of complexity. 89Pts
2010 Bodegas Astrales, S.L., Astrales, $40
Fresh fruit on the nose, like a blackberry fruit cup, followed by a lovely charred incense note. The palate continues the clean blackberry theme, adding coffee, some vanilla bean, and a very pleasant finish of charred aromatic wood and violets. 90Pts
Some top values, $20 and under, from the line-up
These three well illustrated the solid QPR that can be found in the Ribera del Duero.
2009, Bodegas y Vinedeos Ortega Fournier, S.L. Urban Ribera, $14
This is a wine I’ve enjoyed several times before, in other vintages, and have always felt the value was excellent. The nose has fresh blackberry and raspberry fruit, with a bit of sweet tea and some mineral earth. Pleasant and straightforward on the palate, the blackberry carries on in good balance with the moderate tannins. The finish is firm and satisfying. This is a good option for your house wine rotation. 87Pts
2011 Bodegas Felix Callejo, S.A., Flores de Callejo, $20
Tooth staining purple, with ripe blackberry fruit on the nose and the palate, and an undercurrent of violets. There’s also an interesting, and pleasant, note of talcum. 86Pts
2011 Bodegas Barco de Piedra, $15
Fresh, dark, blackberry and some violets on the nose, with more of the same on the palate. There is a fine, granular texture and a bit if grip. While it is solid and fairly extracted, there is still a fair level of balance. The freshness of the fruit is the real story here. This one has backyard barbecue written all over it. 86Pts
You can read more about this event and the wines of Ribera del Duero on these other fine wine blogs.