Ribera Del Duero – A Peek into Wine Regions
Ribera Del Duero, Spain
An underrated country for wines, an underrated region – Ribera Del Duero. When we speak wine, the first thing that comes to our mind is the famous Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Tuscany’s Sangiovese and perhaps even the Cabernets of Australia. Don’t get us wrong, Spain is not unheard of in the wine world, but put a wine from Bordeaux alongside a wine from Ribera Del Duero, of the same value, which one would you choose? 8 times out of 10, we’d go for the Bordeaux cuveé, perhaps because of its reliability, fame and prestige. Well, move over, because the wines from Ribera Del Duero, Spain, are here to prove you wrong.
As Decanter magazine points out, the quality of Ribera Del Duero wines has definitely improved; the wines are more balanced; brettanomyces is less widespread; young wines are fresher and fruitier; prices are lower than in pre-2008; and oak is less prominent and more integrated. Now quality, distinctiveness, balance and drinkability are the priorities for producers. The wines are still rich and still powerful, but not the monsters of the past. Ribera’s top wines are characterised more and more by finesse rather than power.
The ancient inhabitants of the region already knew it. This inimitable land produces something inimitable. The art of winemaking in the Ribera del Duero.
The story of the Ribera del Duero has run in parallel with the union of vine and wine, the fruit of the varieties that stud its landscape, the personality of its people and their culture.
We have to go back no more than 2,000 years to find the first reference to winemaking in the zone: a Roman mosaic of 66 square metres, considered the largest piece bearing Bacchic allegories of the Peninsula, that was discovered in Baños de Valdearados during the grape harvest of 1972.
The Designation of Origin as we know it today, came out of the initiative of a series of vine-growers and winemakers wanting to improve the vineyards and wine quality of Ribera del Duero.
The first Minutes in the archives of the Regulatory Council date from 23 July 1980, from which date that Organism came into being with a provisional nature.
Two years later, on 21 July 1982, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food awarded the Designation of Origin to Ribera del Duero and approved its first Regulations.
From then, the implementation of new growing practices, the introduction of the most modern technologies into winemaking, and the rigorous control processes applied by the Regulatory Council, have made Ribera del Duero a synonym of quality.
From Young to Grand Reserve… Among over 1200 brands that bear the seal of the Ribera del Duero Designation of Origin, there is a wine of great quality for each person and each occasion. The wines produced and created in accordance with the Regulations of the Ribera del Duero Designation, to be entitled to use this name, must be subjected to and pass a rating process developed by the Regulatory Council. Each batch of wine produced in the Ribera del Duero Designation of Origin in a certain season is subjected to controls which include instrumental analysis (physical, chemical and biological) and organoleptic analysis.
These are made with at least 75% of grapes of the Tempranillo variety, also known as Tinta del Pais or Tinto Fino. In addition, the proportion when combined with Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec if these are used, should not be lower than 95%. Consequently, the Garnacha Tinta variety, just like the Albillo, cannot make up more than 5% of these wines.
Wines from Ribera Del Duero has garnered plenty of international attention over recent years. The most recent, The Bodegas La Horra Corimbo I 2010 has been recognized and awarded the Top Red Wine in the Decanter World Wine Awards 2016. A splendid achievement!