In my last post I reviewed a Verdejo, a white wine from Spain. In this post I follow it up with the most well-known red wine from Spain – Tempranillo. I have tasted a number of them from Rioja, but most of my experience with this grape is from wineries in warm regions of California such as Lodi, the Sierra Foothills, and Paso Robles. This is my first Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero.
Ribera del Duero Wine Region
Ribera del Duero is located in the Spain’s northern plateau and is one of eleven “quality wine” regions within autonomous community of in the Castilla y Leon. The capital of Ribera del Duero is the historic town of Aranda de Duero, which has a series of antique underground cellars (bodegas) built to store wine. The interconnecting cellars reach a depth of 40ft in places. Despite a long history of winemaking, Ribera del Duero was not awarded Denominación de Origen (DO) status until 1982.
The Tempranillo grape variety is known by many different names (at least 68) in Spain and Portugal (where it is known as Tinto Roriz), and in Ribera del Duero it is known locally as Tinto Fino. This grape is a clone of Tempranillo that has evolved as a smaller grape with a thicker skin that is a result of it adapting to the greater temperature fluctuations found in this continental climate.
This wine is 100% Tempranillo and it is clear, dark purple to violet at the rim. On the nose it displays medium intense aromas of jammy cooked strawberries (like pulling a whole strawberry out of a jar of preserves), blueberries, milk chocolate, oak, coconut, vanilla and spice. On the palate is fruit forward on entry with medium tannins, very vibrant and mouth-watering medium to medium+ acidity, with a medium length finish of strawberries and spice. This wine is seemingly new world in style and it reminds of Tempranillo I have tasted California but none of them were this tasty. In fact if it had aromas of cassis instead of Strawberries I’d think it was a $35+ Napa Valley Cabernet. It very delicious but the finish is not quite as long as I would like. Nevertheless a very nice wine to pair with everyday meals, hamburgers, barbeque, or pizza.
I have seen this wine sell for as much as $45 a bottle, such as on Wine Enthusiast Magazine web site. But get this, Beverages and More (BevMo) has these weird sales where they put some wine on a “Buy 1, get another for 5 cents” sale. The reason the second wine is sold for 5 cents (and not “buy one, get one free”) is that it is illegal for a business to give away wine, so they have to give the second bottle a minimal price. The 5 cent wine does not have to be the same wine. You can get any other wine for 5 cents that is on the list that is of equal or lesser value. So, I bought this wine for $29.95 and I got a bottle of Malbec from Cahor, France (to be reviewed later) that is also listed for $29.95 for only 5 cents. Another way to look at it is, I bought both of these wines for only $15 each. At that price, the 2008 Pago De Sangara Crianza Tempranillo is an absolute steal!
Is This A Classic Ribera del Duero?
But this is the question I am left with, “Is this wine a good representative of a classic profile of a Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero?” If not, then I am confusing my brain if I am cataloging it into my memory thinking that this is what I should expect in a blind taste test of Ribera del Duero. So, I need to do lot more tasting of Ribera del Duero in order to establish an accurate profile of this wine in my memory.