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Ribera del Duero

Welcome to Ribera del Duero

A new appellation with an old soul – that’s Ribera. Though the region only officially became an appellation in 1982, it has long been known for its rich winemaking tradition. Before the famines of the Spanish Guerra Civil, the landscape was covered in vines. As fighting broke out and food supplies dwindled, people tore up vineyards and planted wheat and other cereals to sustain life. With a third of the vineyard area of Rioja, the Ribera del Duero is a contender to overtake the number one spot for top Spanish wine-producing region. Read on…

It was named 2012 Best Wine Region by Wine Enthusiast magazine. The triumphs of Vega Sicilia in overseas markets starting in the 19th century first brought Spanish cru wine to the world. The blend of majority local tempranillo, called Tinto fino, with the ageability of French cabernet sauvignon and merlot made for long-lived wines that could compete with Bordeaux and Burgundy wines. More wineries sprouted up along what would be called the Golden Mile along the N-122. Through the 1980s and 90s cooperatives were converted to private ownership and single-estate bodegas speaking of terroir and provenance grew. Pingus, Aalto, Dominio de Atauta, Hacienda Monasterio, Mauro, and Emilio Moro are a few.

Enterprising young winemakers and curious businessmen alike came to the lands surrounding the bank, called riberas, of the Duero River. The mostly limestone soils provided the acidity and structure and the high altitude and harsh continental climate gave thin-skinned reds perfect for extended macerations and color extraction with stabilization in oak vessels. The young vino joven or cosecha wines are ready for consumption a few months after harvest and cannot have spent more than 12 months in barrel. Most are done in stainless steel and are vibrant, fresh medium bodied reds with strong red berry and lactic notes with bright purple glimmers. The basic crianza requires 12 months in oak while the reservas and gran reservas require 12 months in oak followed by 24 months in bottle or oak and 24 months in oak followed by 36 months in bottle, respectively. As the wines spend more time in oak (usually American), they take on more of the vanilla, clove, cigar box, and liquorice on in to leather, smoked meats, and Madagascar vanilla.