It occurs to me -- here on the cusp of taking off to Madrid next week -- that I've been carrying around recommendations for three Ribera del Duero wines we've tried in restaurants throughout Spain over the last year. A pair of them have surfaced through other posts, but as none were part of a lineup or a winery visit, I've not had cause to share them in a lineup. Funny, though, we've seen them all again in places other than where we first tried them, and have found them all to be worthy bottles from one of our very favorite of the world's great wine regions. Give them a look.
2015 Rosado de Silos
A rosado (that's rosé when in Spain) from a region most associate with its famous reds, Rosado de Silos paired perfectly with the fish we ordered for dinner at La Favorita in the city of Burgos, the Ribera region's largest city. We'd actually tried a rosado earlier in the day from nearby (ish) Bodegas Arrocal, but not finding them on the menu at La Favorita, decided to explore and compare. The nose of almond, a little raspberry, and strawberry (though not the strawberry and cream common in much rosé) is very fresh, giving way to an easy drinking glass dominated by big almond notes on the palate (neat) and a particularly satisfying ending. Don't ever turn down an opportunity for a quality rosado from Ribera.
2013 Viña Sastre Crianza
This wine is labeled Crianza, which in the Spanish wine classification scheme notes a wine that has been aged at least two years of which at least six months have been spent in oak barrels. This gives the wine a bit of cachet above a simple table wine, but still lacking the more advanced aging of a bottle labeled Reserva or Gran Reserva. We pulled the cork on this over lunch at the recommendation of the folks at a restaurant called Asados Nazareno in the town of Roa, located in the Province of Burgos, which is itself located in Castile and León out towards the northwest of Spain. It turns out that Roa, in the heart of Ribera del Duero, is about an eight minute drive from the Bodega Viña Sastre where the wine is made. It's quite local. In any case, the wine is rather characteristic for a Ribera del Duero (Tempranillo, of course, though in Ribera they often refer to Tempranillo as Tinta del país). We loved the notes of cedar, hickory, and blackberry in the nose. The blueberry notes so common in wine from this region followed on the palate, fruit forward, where a quite smooth mouthfeel made this the perfect midday red.
2014 Emilio Moro
The only bottle in our lineup that we cannot claim to have tried in the region itself (we drank it over dinner back in Madrid), Emilio Moro is a popular and ubiquitous (thus easy to get your hands on) producer well known throughout Spain and the world. Interesting dark blue tinged in the glass, i.e. more of a purple bent than a garnet disposition. The nose is lush and brambly blackberry. Blueberry notes in the palate give this 100% Tempranillo away as a classic example of wine made in Ribera del Duero. It's velvety yet not completely smooth, with a little tannin in the back. It likes food, particularly salted meats. We drank it with cochinillo (suckling pig). Splendid.