Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April 2017

The First Monday of April came along with an unexpected rush! Sorry for the late reminder. Mind you, great turnout .....

Kevin (that's me) brought a selection of wines that had been presented to him on a recent press trip to Ribera del Duero in northern Spain. He began by giving the Club a brief introduction to what is arguably the greatest region for growing Tempranillo in Spain.

Up to the 1970's this was a very poor region with at most 4 operating wineries. Vega Sicilia didn't count! Today there are over 400 wineries and most of the best sites are planted and farmed with a fabulous attention to both detail and hygiene.

Why is Ribera del Duero such a great vineyard?

It is Spain's highest vineyard area ranging from 800 to over 1000m above sea level. This produces a truly impressive diurnal range during the growing season and an annual variation from +42 to -20celsius! ). This ultimately produces an intense concentration of both fruit and structure into the grapes which are then translated into memorable wines.  

The central part of the administrative area hugs the Duero river with just the right combination of soils that the local clone of the Tempranillo grape - the Tinta Fino (Tinta del Pais) excels in a manner not found anywhere else. (see below for a photo of a selection of soils, vistas and meticulous neatness)

Ribera del Duero was 'found' and introduced to the world by visionaries such as Peter Sisseck at Hacienda Monasterio and Pingus and also by the timeless legacy of Vega Sicilia.  Other local estates, such as Emilio Moro, that had been farmed for many generations, were then discovered by admiring overseas markets just at the right time to allow them to prosper.

Modernity and traditional values sit easily beside one another in Ribera. A great example is where Jose Moro at Emilio Moro continues to develop an absolutely incredible family winery at Emilio Moro while at the same time has developed the ultra modern Cepa21 to make a completely different style of wine. The brilliant and Venerable. The brilliant and New.

Back to the tasting!! I'll write another blog on the region. When I do, I'll let you know.

Member Deirdre brought the Mystery Bottle and chose to intoduce it half way through the tasting. Once again it was a great addition to the evening and (once again) was an honest purchase that didn't try to fool anyone. Mind you, as it was a Cotes du Rhone Villages that's exactly what it did in the end!! In blind tastings they really do have the ability to end up in Chianti, northern Spain as well as France itself.....

This was our Ribera line up:

They reflected a number of things:

Wines from Ribera are dominantly red (permitted varieties are Tinta del Pais (Tempranillo) Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Garnacha Tinto with the latter often used in the Rose styles. White wine can only be made from the local Albillo grape (see below).

Red wines
Roble /Joven: between 3 and 12 months in barrel - released young
Crianza: 12 months in barrel - released on 2 to 6 years
Reserva: 36 months in barrel and bottle with at least 12 in barrel - released 3 to 10 years 
Gran Reserva: 60 month in barrel and bottle with at least 24 in barrel - realeased after Dec 1st five years after harvest

Garcia Viadero Albillo 2016 

This is mouthwateringly superb wine. Amost no-one makes a straight white Albillo in the region. This not because they have no potential. It's because the reds are so good! That's a pity because this wine screams quality with a lifted lemon and peach bouquet and a finely sculpted palate of minerality and ripe citrus fruits. I would go out of my way to find this. Loved by the Club. see Bodegas Valduero here

Martin Berdugo Barrica 2015

Martin Berdugo has a winery that is so new it positively sparkles! (the old one burnt to the ground after a lightening strike ... )  Barrica is referred to as a 'semi crianza with a stroll in the wood'. This is intensely fruited with soft and agreeable tannins - a hallmark of the region - and a long, deeply satisfying finish.

Ribera del Duero Crianza 2013

This was a bottle from the Consejo (governing authority) and used as a 'type example' of the style and vintage. It didnt disappoint. The ageing is on both the colour (slight tawny) and the nose. Great balance in the mouth. Tannins (once again) soft and inviting while the fruit is big, broad and bold.

Martin Berdugo MB 2011

MB, we are told, is 'Sophisticated'. In fact it's more than that. It's complex also. Compared to the 2013 a softness enters the equation here. The nose has less of the onbvious primary fruits and a lot more of the rich depth associated with good ageing. Ribera wines are 'fruit forward' This MB shows why as even with ageing the quality of the Tinta Pais takes centre stage and shines through.

Valduero Reserva 2011

There is so much to talk about with Valduero that it needs to be left to another day! Welcoming, homelines, honesty, warmth, charm, integrity .... they all fit well here.. This is a wine that might very well last for the next twenty years. It is charming and subtle and packed tight with nuance.

Read more here

This was another great night at the AC Wine Club. Hope everyone learnt lots and had a great time! Next Month we are held up with the Bank Holiday Monday so we'll meet on the the second Monday of the month instead. See you all then.