So many roads
SO MANY ROADS...
Many types of roads exist around the world. Centuries ago, the Silk Road connected the East and the West with a series of trade and cultural routes. In the realm of imagination, there is the Yellow Brick Road, which leads to the Emerald City where the wonderful Wizard of Oz lives. Back in the real world, there's even The Road to Serfdom, a defense of laissez-fairecapitalism written by the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek.
Today, though, we are going to talk about a wine road. A road that was taken by the Phoenicians, the Romans, and even by some Medieval Monks coming from the French abbey of Cluny. It is the road that follows the Duero river.
Along with La Rioja and Priorat, the Ribera del Duero region is home to some of Spain's best wines. Established in 1982, it is the kingdom of the Tinta Fina grape, also known as Tempranillo. A rugged land that produces energetic, bold red wines which are a must for every wine lover.
So, let's have a look at some of them.
Let's begin with the young wines. Finca Resalso 2013, by Bodegas Emilio Moro, is a varietal red entirely crafted from Tinta Fina. Cold-soaked and fermented at a temperature between 23ºC and 25ºC, the wine was aged in oak barrels for 4 months. It has a high cherry-coloured robe with a violet rim and, on the nose, it displays triumphant aromas of black fruit, balsam and liquorice, combined with subdued notions of vanilla, coco and toffee. The palate is seductive and well-balanced. Blackberries and cranberries, some lactic touches, a dash of balsam and a good, expansive acidity. Long, fruity finish. Truly enjoyable.
The next wine is Austum 2013, by Bodegas Tionio, a brand of the Parxet Group based on the town of Peñafiel, Valladolid. Again, this young red is solely made from Tinta Fina grapes coming from vines planted at an altitude of 850 metres above sea level and grown following the guidelines of organic farming. Vinified in stainless steel tanks and aged in medium grain French oak barrels from Allier, it has a deep, red-violet colour, with lilac tinges and a claret hue at the rim. Intense nose full of red and black fruit, candystore remembrances and notes of lollipop and menthol. The palate is elegant and linear: graphite, mint, liquorice and blackcurrants. Lively acidity and long, slightly bitter finish.
Pago de los Capellanes Roble 2013 is an old favourite of our team. One of the most food-pairable wines produced in the Ribera del Duero DO, it enjoys a huge popularity among Spanish restaurateurs -and deservingly so. This red wine is a varietal Tempranillo made from grapes coming from the 35 hectares of vineyards owned by the winery that were selected according to their high levels of polyphenols. As for the vinification process, the wine was cold-soaked, fermented with daily pump-overs and punch-downs and aged in medium-toasted oak barrels for 5 months. It has a medium cherry-coloured robe with a ruby rim, and the nose shows prominent notions of cocoa, vanilla and caramel, along with ripe blackberries, raspberries and blue flowers. The palate is smooth and velvety. Fresh red fruit, notes of toast and arabica coffee, and a touch of balsam. Precise acidity, crunchy tannins and, again, a pleasantly bitter finish. Rewarding.
Now the mature ones. Parada de Atauta 2011, crafted by the Dominio de Atauta winery, is a varietal Tinta Fina coming from old vines from 80 to 100 years old grown at an altitude of almost 1000 metres above sea level. Cold-soaked and fermented in stainless steel tanks, the wine was lightly filtered and then half of it was aged for 12 months in new French oak barrels. Dressed in a red robe, it displays classic aromas of red and black fruit, along with enticing notes of underbush, rosemary and liquorice. On the palate, jammy black fruit and some touches of smoke, toast and tobacco, sustained by a layer of chocolate, caramel and cardamom. Wide, suave and seductive, with polished tannins, tense acidity and a long finish with remembrances of liquor-infused fruit. Terrific!
What can we say about Finca Villacreces 2010? Maybe this will suffice: Pruno,its younger brother, is one of Robert Parker's all-time favourites as far as Spanish wine is concerned. In fact, it has been repeatedly chosen by him as “Best Spanish wine under 15 euros”. As for this grown-up, gentlemanly red, it is made from a blend composed mainly of Tinta Fina, along with tiny parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Fermented and aged in French oak barrels for 14 months, Finca Villacreces 2010 was clarified with egg whites and aged for a further 6 months in the cellar prior to its commercial release onto the market. It has a ruby-red colour with a brick red rim, and it smells of menthol, clove, cinnamon, blackcurrants, plums and blackberries. The palate is distinguished, with a finely drawn profile of lactic notes, underbush remembrances, Eastern spices and red berries. Ripe tannins and long, balsamic finish.
Finally, Bosque de Matasnos 2010 Edición Limitada is precisely what its name proclaims: a limited-edition wine made only in exceptional vintages. On this occasion, this rare wine, of which only 2,000 bottles were produced, was crafted from a blend of Tempranillo and Merlot coming from old, high-altitude vines. Macerated with the skins and fermented in stainless steel tanks, malolactic fermentation and a 12-month ageing period took place in French oak barrels. Filtered and bottled, the wine spent another 30 months in the cellar before its commercial release. The result is a red-coloured wine with a medium robe and a ruby rim that shows seductive aromas of red and black fruit, some nicely integrated wooden notes and some earthy and mineral hints. On the palate, the fruit and the spices are underpinned by a mineral structure that conveys a sense of the wine's native terroir. Perfect acidity and long aftertaste that brings back notes of black fruit. A respectable achievement.
And thus we've reached the end of our road to Ribera del Duero. One of Spain's great wine regions.
Until the next trip!