Sunday, March 10, 2013

Getting To Know The Wines of Ribera del Duero

I don't profess to know much about wines (yet) but I like attending wine seminars because I learn so much. Most recently I attended a seminar for Ribera del Duero wines of Spain at Red O. The sommelier leading the seminar told us that there are three great wines of Spain: Rioja, Ribera del Duero, and Priorat. Ribera del Duero has higher elevation and thus greater diurnal shift. The hot summers ripen the fruit while the cold winters allow retention of acidity. This region is almost entirely planted with Tempranillo, and a third has vines that are older than 50 years.

Tempranillo is a thin skinned grapes which is highly aromatic. Apparently delicate grapes usually do not work well with oak but tempranillo is the exception to the rule. For the seminar, we tasted 5 different wines.
Ribera Wines
Bodegas y Vinedos Monteabellon, S. L. Avaniel 2011
This wine is 100% tempranillo all aged in stainless steel, which means it was meant to be drunk young.
Aroma: sourdough. Bright, good finish.

Bodegas Valdubon S. L. Cosecha 2010
The term "cosecha" (or sometimes "joven") means that there's been no oak aging. Just like the previous wine, this is 100% tempranillo in stainless steel, and ready to drink. Aroma: dill.
There's a sweet and sour character on the palate. I liked this better than the Avaniel. They're both 14% ABV but this tastes smoother.

Bodegas y Vinedos Ortega Fournier, S. L. Urban Ribera 2009
This wine has been aged in French oak for 3 months (which is not long enough for the next labeling, "crianza"). According to the sommelier, almost all across Europe, the wines in 2009 have a ripe fruit character, almost jammy. This wine is spicier and a little heavier than the previous, with subtle vanilla and spice notes.

Valduero Reserva 2004
This was even spicier than the Fournier, but still balanced. 

Alejandro Fernandez-Tinto Pesquera, S.L. Pesquera Reserva 2008
This wine was aged 2 years in American oak and a year in the bottle. This was heavier and had less acid than the Valduero but still tasted bright.

Next we had some bites from Red O and tried pairing them with the various wines.

The Pesquera was too acidic for me to pair with the chicken with mole poblano but I liked it with the braised short rib tart in the middle. The Valdubon was even better with the short rib, though, the acid balances out the richness.
Red O
The mushroom and spinach cazuela went well with the Fournier as it added some spiciness, but the acid from the Avaniel worked nicely as well.

There was a trade tasting following the seminar as well, where I got to taste many more. The 2010 Flores de Callejo was very balanced for a wine aged 6 months in oak, and the 2006 Callejo Reserva (12 months in oak) also had a slight sweetness to it.
The Protos wines all had a sweetness to it, but the 2006 Reserva (aged 18 months) has a lot more spice. Alas, this particular one is not available in California. 


Gourmet Pigs   © 2008. Template Recipes by Emporium Digital