Ribera del Duero

This northern Spanish vineyard area is huge, 120km long by almost a hundred wide, and all but connects Rioja with the city of Valladolid.  Although Ribera del Duero has made a considerable name for itself over the last decade or so, the region and its Denominación de Orígen are surprisingly young.  If we go back to the 1970’s, for example, only one name bore any relevance, that of Vega Sicilia.  All the other wines that were produced at that time were sold as bulk or through a handful of cooperatives, which is to say that the hundreds of bodegas that now fill the shelves around the world have all been created since then, and the vast majority since the year 2000.

Families that owned old vines and had grown grapes for the cooperatives for generations took the initiative and established themselves as winemakers in their own right, many taking on hefty loans to build their bodegas.  The recession of 2008 hit hard in Spain and sadly some of those investments did not come good, but this had a sort of cleansing effect on the market and today those who remain should be of better quality.  There are a few gems to be had amongst the bigger houses like Pesquera or Emilio Moro, and we spend a good deal of time searching for these.

The landscape is rugged and dominated by the Duero River which runs the length of the DO, then continues past the nearby Toro DO into Portugal, where it is named Douro.  Tempranillo, locally known as Tinto Fino, is the grape of preference although the DO also allows for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec in recognition of the influence of Bordeaux through the nineteenth century, as in Rioja.  Some white wine is made from the Albillo variety but very little, while the local rosado style is gaining in popularity.

Our Ribera del Duero Selection

Antídoto, Ribera del Duero, 2014iconePdf