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.
Aroma: sourdough. Bright, good finish.
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.
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.