Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Value Wines for New Year's Eve

Where did 2021 go? If you are anything like me it probably went too quickly! I think time moves at a different rhythm in post pandemic times.
But, here we are getting ready to celebrate another holiday season, another new year’s eve with masks,  and this time after requesting PCR negative tests from all your guests, it’s time to think about the food and most important the wines.  So, what wines to choose for your holiday party? Believe it or not, I ask myself this question too, something good but not too pricey, so I can buy plenty of bottles for all my guests.  The idea here was to choose some sparkling, whites and reds that will appeal to a large group of people and match with a variety of cold and hot appetizers, without breaking the bank!

So, I decided to allow the many importers, producers and PR companies that have supplied La Wina with samples all through this year to choose for me. I told them “send me wines of your choice below $20 and above all surprise me”. See my selections below, a truly different set of wines, these will be great for all your holiday gatherings and also as gifts too!

Yellow Tail Pure Bright Pinot Grigio 2020, South Australia

For many years, Yellow Tail has been one of the best selling brands in the world, mostly because  besides being very affordable, they provide something Americans truly love, plenty of Australian fruit and flavor. The Pure Bright line provides something else,  it is a low calorie/ low alcohol wine. A category I never dived into, (normally I tend to eat less so I can drink more calories from my favorite wines). Surprisingly vibrant, this light bodied white shows juicy green apple and passion fruit notes and is only $7.99!

Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2020, Swartland, South Africa
I have a confession to make, I’m a huge fan of Chenin Blanc, and feel it never gets the attention it truly deserves, always living under the shadow of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. The Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin is flinty, showing nectarine, pineapple and honey aromas. It is made from estate-grown 60 year old unirrigated vines that grow on granitic soils.  A brief aging on its lees adds complexity to this flavorful white. $17.99

Funckenhausen Chardonnay 2020, Mendoza, Argentina
This wine, it’s a blend of 93% Chardonnay with 7% Sauvignon Blanc, from Mendoza, Argentina.  Cold macerated to secure fruitiness and completely fermented in stainless steel tanks. No malolactic fermentation accentuates the nice acidity already present in the fruit. It’s truly a good value, the bottle comes in 1 liter size, and not your usual 750 cl. This medium + body white yields lively pink grapefruit and yellow pear notes. A touch of lemon peel frames the creamy finish. $14.99

Domaine de Bousquet Brut NV, Mendoza, Argentina
It’s New Year’s after all! And I have to include a sparkling wine to toast 2022. This one is made from organic grapes, estate-grown in the Tupungato valley, Mendoza, Argentina.
It’s a blend of 75% Chardonnay with 25 % Pinot Noir, completely fermented in tanks, using the Charmat method, which is the same method used to make Prosecco. Domaine de Bousquet Brut is a certified vegan bubbly that offers enticing green apple, brioche and citrus (lime) aromas. Its fine, pearly mousse adds energy to the finish. $12.99

Aplanta Red Wine Blend 2019, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal

Portugal is the source of many good value/ good quality wines and Aplanta is a very good example of this. This juicy and inviting red is a blend of 70% Aragonez, otherwise known as Tempranillo and 30 % Alicante Bouchet. It features a medium body, saturated with blueberry marmalade and black cherry notes. Velvety textured tannins give away to a supple finish. $10.99

Pont de Nyons Cotes du Rhone 2019, France
I love spicy reds like those from the Cotes du Rhone, they have plenty of pizzazz and personality and match with plenty of food!  This plush red is made from 70% Grenache (from vines averaging 60 + years old) combined with 30% elegant Syrah, grown in soils rich in limestone and clay.  It showcases sweet blackberry notes, with black olives and garrigue aromas that build up to a silky finish. $12.99

Salentein Malbec 2020, Mendoza, Argentina
Ooops! I just realized that I ended up recommending too many wines from Argentina, I guess I can’t deny my roots. The truth is I couldn’t finish without including a fine Malbec, after all, this is what my closest friends get for Christmas every year. 

This red is made from 100 % Malbec grown in the Uco Valley, in the eastern slopes of the Andes. It offers ripe plum, black cherry, sweet tobacco and spicy notes from oak, ending in a polished finish. $19.99

Happy New Year, my dear Winos! May you manifest each and every dream in 2022! Cheers, Silvina.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

English Sparklers for the Holidays!

The UK is home to the Masters of Wine Institute, the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and for a long time, it was known more from educating about wine appreciation and for consuming plenty of wine than from making wine. This was due, mostly to its northerly location, with most of the UK located at above 50º latitude north, it was extremely difficult to grow grapes and most importantly to get them to ripen in such a cool and marginal climate.


However, the English didn’t give up, and have tried making wines for some time, focusing at the beginning on early ripening varieties, mostly crossings/hybrids such as Bacchus and Seyval Blanc. Yet, most of the wine produced was not that great, and this is why for centuries the UK imported and consumed wines from all over the world, and was key for impulsing some of the most well known wine regions in the world, including Bordeaux, Port, Madeira or Sherry. This changed with global warming, all of the sudden, conditions were in place to make viticulture feasible, even in the English chilly to temperate climate. Since I’m a lover of cool climate wines that show zippy acidity, I decided to explore this a bit further. 

According to the Wines of Great Britain Institute (WINEGB), there are about 3,800 hectares of vineyards in the UK, so it's a tiny region, though planting is increasing, growing 194% in the last 10 years alone. About 164 wineries make wines, most of them sparkling (69% of the total wine production), some of these sparklers have received awards and praise from the press, who assures they could easily compete with the best of Champagnes. The remaining 31% are still wines. Most of these wines are sold domestically and only 8% is exported. The US is by far their favorite destination, which includes states such as CA, NY, TX and FL. 

Their favorite grapes are those suited for cool climates: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Bacchus (crossing of Silvaner, Riesling and Muller Thurgau) Seyval Blanc (French Hybrid) and Pinot Gris. 

Site selection is very important here, with 76% of all vineyards located in the South East of the Island, where it is warmer, sunnier and drier. Important districts are Sussex (East and West), Surrey and Kent (known also as the garden of England). All of them, located to the South of London, ½ to 2 hours away at most. Besides these, there are some vineyards in the South West (13%), in East Anglia (4%) and Wales (1%). We can see the list of regions clearly in the map below, courtesy of WINEGB.


Here, some of the best sparkling wines are produced, not only do they have the cool climate needed to keep acidity and elegance in bubbly production, but they also share the same type of soil as in Champagne, limestone chalky soils, rich in ancient marine fossils. Plus, low yields (good for fruit concentration), the average in the UK is 19 hl/ha, much lower than in Champagne (65 hl/ha). The minimum aging on lees is 9 months by law, though producers can age for longer as you will see in my recommended samples below. Of course, the longer the aging on its lees, the creamier the wine will be and the finer and more elegant the mousse.

In the early 2000s, these optimal conditions caught the attention of the French who started investing here, firms such as Pommery acquired land in Surrey and Tattinger in Kent. I’m sure, in the future, we will see more French houses investing in the UK, as they once did in California.

Stylistically, most of the English sparkling wines produced are vintage dated, yet some are non vintage and similarly to Champagne, English wineries make also Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) and Blanc de Noirs (100% Pinot Noir), Rosé, as well as the typical champagne blend of equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. British wineries use the Traditional method with second fermentation inside the bottle, and renamed it the “Great British Classic Method”.

Sparkling Recommended Producers: not every single winery imports to the US, and most sell their complete production domestically, hopefully, this will change soon.  Some of the most awarded producers (listed alphabetically) are: Chapel Down, Gusbourne, Hambledon, Harrow & Hope, Hattingley Valley, NyeTimber, Ridgeview and Winston State.

My recommendations include samples from two of these renown producers. Many thanks to Broadbent Wines and to Abck Corporation for these! My conclusion, after tasting them, is that English sparklers have the same quality and elegance of French Champagne and I look forward to see more brands in the US market.

Chapel Down Brut NV, $44.99

A blend of 48% Chardonnay, 42% Pinot Noir, 5% Pinot Meunier and 

5% Pinot Blanc, sourced from Kent, Essex, East Sussex and Dorset counties. This wine was aged for 18 months on its lees. Simply delicious showing pear, and candy lemon notes with a smoky/ toasty finish.

Chapel Down Rosé NV,$54.99

100 % Pinot Noir grown in Kent, Sussex and Essex counties. It was aged for 18 months on its lees. Seductive bubbly offers strawberry, red currants and ginger notes and a touch of minerality.

Chapel Down Three Graces, NV $64.99

It's a blend of 60% Chardonnay with 31% Pinot Noir and 9% Pinot Meunier grapes sourced from Kent and Sussex counties. This wine

is usually aged for a minimum of 3 years on its lees. Outstanding and refined! It showcases grapefruit zest, baked apple and toasted almond notes and a layerful finish. The best of all 3 samples received from this producer.


Gusborne Brut Reserve 2016, $64.99

A blend of 53% Pinot Noir, 7% Pinot Meunier and 40% Chardonnay. 

This wine was aged for a minimum of 36 months on its lees. Elegant and classy, it offers green apple and nectarine notes, very creamy on the finish.

Gusborne Brut Rosé Reserva 2015, $84.99

A blend of 52% Pinot Noir,32%, Pinot Meunier and 14% Chardonnay, 

this wine was aged for a minimum of 26 months on its lees. Extraordinary bubbly, invites you to keep drinking! Showing pomegranate, raspberry and red cherry notes. This was the first bottle I opened and it became my favorite.

Gusborne Blanc de Blancs 2016, $89.99

Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, and aged for a minimum of 

42 months on its lees. Complex and superb with delicious lemon preserve, hazelnut and briochy notes. Impressive!


So, isn't it time to think outside the box and try a different kind of sparkling this holiday season? Try these and you won't be disappointed! Happy Holidays to all of my readers! Cheers, Silvina

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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Pairing Sherry with Food

Happy International Sherry Week!  And what a better way to pay homage to Sherry than by exploring how to pair the different styles with food. 

If you are a new reader visiting the blog for the first time, and you don’t know what Sherry is, I recommend you to brush up by reading my previous posts on Sherry


1) Manzanilla and Fino Sherries (biological aged Sherries) and 

2) Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso and PX (oxidative aged Sherries). These two posts will help you understand, discover and enjoy these delicious fortified wines.

But first and the most important thing when matching Sherry is to be aware that Sherry is a very complex wine that has 307 molecular aromatic compounds (more than any other wine) and these aromatics are going to be key when choosing what foods to match with them.  In Spain, in Jerez, to be more precise, there’s a saying: 

“If it swims (fish/ seafood), match it with a Manzanilla or Fino”. Manzanilla and Fino are the lightest, more delicate styles of Sherry and are always dry. 

“If it flies (chicken/poultry), match it with an Amontillado”. Amontillados have aromatic notes of both aging processes: biological and oxidative. They can be dry or medium. 

And finally,“If it walks (pigs, cows, sheep) match it with an Oloroso”. Olorosos are aged only oxidatively, have bigger textures and are more flavorful. They are mostly dry, since when they are sweet they are called Cream Sherries. 

Traditionally, in Spain, Sherry is normally served with Tapas (appetizers at no extra cost). I still remember when I was there, when $1 Euro would buy me a serving of Manzanilla or Fino with potato chips and olives. Other Tapas also cost $1 Euro per serving; what a feast it was to try all these delicious appetizers (pinchos), cheeses, Potato tortilla matched with a different copita of Sherry! If you live in the tri-state area, I recommend you to visit Mercado Little Spain, the place to taste and buy some of the best tapas (as well as cheese, ham and olives) in the US.  

That said, Sherry can be served with so much more than Marcona almonds or Manchego cheese, the lightest styles for example; the Manzanilla and Fino sherries that naturally have notes of iodine, seaweed, saltiness, almonds and yeast extract in their aromatic profiles are a great match with all types of umami foods such as sushi (my favorite), poke, prawns, fried shrimps, calamari, fish and chips, cold soups like gazpacho, oysters and green salads. Match your Fino, either regular, en rama (which means with minimum fining or filtering) or Pasado, (which is slightly oxidized), with cured hams or other cured meats like Chorizo, all types of croquettes and turnovers (empanadillas), vinegary appetizers, especially olives, white anchovies and mini onions, grilled sardines, mojama (which is salted cured tuna), stuffed piquillo peppers, Mahi Mahi or flounder in garlic or butter sauce, grilled octopus and seafood Paella.  


Match your Amontillado and Palo Cortado that have notes of caramel, bruised apple, nuts and soy aromas with teriyaki dishes, including tuna, duck or pork, caramelized dishes such as onion or leek tarts, roasted pork, braised artichokes, sauteed or grilled mushrooms and onions, grilled fish such as tuna, barbecue ribs and matured hard cheeses. Amontillado Sherry can also be used to dress up sauces or soups, adding an extra wow to your recipe; I confess to often adding a touch of Amontillado to my pumpkin or carrot soups.  


Oloroso Sherries that show roasted walnuts, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup and toffee notes can match with bigger and more flavorful dishes such as pulled pork sandwiches, steaks (lamb, beef and duck) morcilla (black pudding), hearty stews like oxtails in tomato sauce, even roasted game like Thanksgiving Turkey! Amontillado or Oloroso Sherry will be a great pairing to your Thanksgiving feast, since its spiciness will match with all your sweet and savory side dishes. 

Always keep in mind that in the case of the Olorosos, that go through oxidative aging, the flavors of the wines will concentrate even further, during aging, making these wines even more intense, and it's their intensity that will allow a match with hearty/ big dishes.  


Now, if you are like me, (someone who drinks sweet Sherries in the winter) whether these are Cream, Medium Cream or Pale cream, besides drinking them on its own, you can pair them with foie gras or blue cheese for a classic sweet/ salty combination, and of course with all types of desserts including chocolate based cakes and cookies, cinnamon buns, pecan pies, walnut cakes, baklava (my favorite), sweet potato pie, etc.   

Sweet and floral Moscatel Sherries that have a delicious orange peel, honey and quince aromas will match very well with any orange/ citrus flavored cakes, pies, creamy fruit tarts, flan or crème brûlée. And finally PX, which is the most luscious sherry of all styles and thick as a syrup, showing prune, dates and chocolate notes, will be a good match to ice cream or on vanilla ice cream as they have it in Spain, dark bitter chocolate, tiramisu, sticky toffee pudding or churros (Spanish fritters). 

To better enjoy these wines serve them as follows:

Serve Manzanilla and Finos at the same temperature you would serve any white wine, or at 41º- 45º F. Pale cream (sweetened Fino) should be served at 44º- 48º F. Amontillado, Palo Cortado and Oloroso, can be served warmer, at 53º- 58º F. Consume Manzanilla and Fino within 3 to 4 days after opening. The oxidative sherries can last a bit longer, actually the more exposed to oxygen they are, the longer they can last, but no more than 2 weeks, keep them in the fridge or use a Repour stopper to keep it for longer.

My recommendations include 3 of my favorite sherries of all time, that you can find anywhere in the US!


Tio Pepe Fino Sherry, $16.99

Made from 100 % Palomino Fino grapes grown on Albariza soils, sourced from the Carrascal and Macharnudo vineyards. The wine undergoes its aging under flor in the Solera system for an average of 4 years. 

Elegant and dry Fino, showing blanched almonds and green olive notes. Nice bracing finish!

Williams & Humbert, Dry Sack Medium Sherry, $18.99

A blend of Palomino Fino and PX grapes, this wine was aged in the 

Solera system for 6 years. Seductive off-dry sherry, showing exotic roasted walnuts, cinnamon, golden raisin and toffee notes. Delish!

Lustau East India Solera Cream Sherry $27.99

A blend of Palomino Fino and PX grapes, this wine was aged in a Solera system for a minimum of 15 years. Sweet sherry showing molasses, rum raisin and chocolate notes, WOW! outstanding.


So, isn't it time you explore the world of Sherry? Cheers! Silvina

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Tips to help you identify your favorite Wine Styles!

One of the reasons I started blogging about wine almost three years ago was to help you, my dear reader, not only to learn a bit more about wine, but also to help you identify what wines you like and what you don’t like and should avoid!

We have to agree there’s nothing more frustrating than to buy a bottle of wine and after tasting it, realizing it was not what you hoped for! I always say thank God for tastings! they happen, so that we can get a sip before we decide and in a way start filling our mental wine library/ bank. So, next time you see a person with a few bottles opened at your favorite wine store, go ahead and stop for 5 minutes and try whatever they are offering, maybe there’s a jewel there waiting to be discovered.

But the truth is, there’s so much wine on the shelves, even if you have the money and time, it’s going to be extremely difficult to taste all of it. And even if you do taste a lot, the next step is identifying the different wine styles you like. I suppose in life it is the same, you need to know what you want first, in order to pursue it!

Hopefully, this classification below will help shed some light into the sea of wine labels you encounter in stores and online. Some of which have been smart enough to classify their bottles by style, instead of by grape or country, like most retailers do. 

Now, the elements in wine play an important role here when talking about styles, since they vary and connect differently. Fruitiness can vary from nonexistent to mild, from balanced or too intense or concentrated, acidity can go from low, medium or high, body can be light, medium or full (alcohol plays an important role here) and oakiness might be present or not. In the case of the reds, we need to add one more element which is tannin. Tannins can go from non-existent to mild and smooth, or super tannic (harsh). Of course each variety has their own character/aroma profile and depending on climate the same grape could smell/ taste differently, a Chardonnay could be very tropical in warm/ hot locations:  and will show pineapple, guava, passion fruit notes or in a cool climate it could show citrus, lemon, green apple notes. 

To make things easier I created this classification below. I also took the time to explain some of the terms too. 
Once upon a time when I used to coordinate and pour at in-store tastings, the two questions I always asked to all customers that walked through the door were: Do you want to taste my wines? Followed by which wines do you like or normally drink? This helped me identify whether the person in front of me would like or wouldn't like what I was serving.

So, are you ready? Let’s play the game, If you like...? You should fill out with one of the categories below, to obtain your answer.

First, Whites: 
*Bone-dry, mineral and neutral whites: You like whites that are usually light in body with high acidity, no oak and kind of neutral with light aromatic character, some notes they may show: almond, hazelnut, lemon and pear flavors. Then go for: Muscadet, Pinot Grigio, Soave, Orvieto, Airén, Aligoté, Pinot Blanc, Gavi,Verdicchio.

*Green, tangy whites: You are like me! We have the same wine taste. You like crisp and refreshing whites, with herbaceous, vegetal notes: green pepper, peas, asparagus, fresh grass, minerality and citrus (lemon, lime) notes, good acidity here too. Then go for: Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Verdejo, Gruner Veltliner, dry Riesling.

*Aromatic whites with intense fruit or floral notes: I also love this style, especially as an aperitif or with spicy foods. You like wines with intense fruit or floral notes (lychees, roses, apricot, peach). They could be light to medium bodied, usually without oak. Then go for: Viognier, Riesling, Albariño,Muscat, Torrontés, Moschofilero, Gewurztraminer.

*Bold whites with nutty notes: nutty notes come from oak, it could be a touch like in Burgundian Chardonnay or a lot like in CA Chardonnay. But also, these are the biggest whites of the spectrum so expect: plenty of body and fruit here. If you close your eyes, it will be almost as if you are tasting a red. Then go for: good quality Burgundy Chardonnay, and Chardonnay from warm climates: California, Australia, Spain, these will have more oaky flavors.

Now Reds:
*Delicate and velvety reds: then you like wines that are light to medium bodied with strawberry, raspberry, cranberry or other red fruit flavors. Light on tannin and mellow. Then go for my favorite red grape: Pinot Noir! from anywhere in the world, but Burgundy if you have $$$$, if not Oregon, California or Chile.

*Juicy fruity reds: here I include two categories, fruit forward and fun like Beaujolais (banana, bubble gum notes) and young Garnacha/Grenache (strawberry, raspberry) or mouthwatering, with light to medium bodies, high acidity and refreshing, featuring red or black fruits and some herbaceous notes.  Then go for light Italian reds, with solid acidity: Chianti, Barbera, Dolcetto, Valpolicella.

*Spicy warm reds: I like these because they have plenty of fruit aromatics and spice, but also a bit of structure from tannin from grapes or oak. These are usually medium to full bodied, some featuring black pepper, chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, clove or other spicy notes. Then go for: Syrah, Malbec, Carmenere, Pinotage, Zinfandel, Tempranillo (Rioja, Ribera del Duero, reserva and gran reserva).

*Bold and Intense reds: these are big big big! Tannic, with concentrated black fruitiness (blackberry, plum, black cherry), full bodied and with oak. I like to call them A Powerbomb! These are the biggest reds of the spectrum! these you age for a long time. Go for: Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Barolo, Barbaresco, Douro, Priorat, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Uruguayan Tannat.

Now Rosé: they can be fruit forward or dry.
*Fruity Rosé: with some rs (residual sugar) go to White Zinfandel or any rosé from the New World, where there’s plenty of sun and the grapes get riper, for example Portuguese,Argentinean, Chilean, Australian. They will feature aromas of watermelon, strawberry, ginger.

*Dry Rosé: is on the other hand more serious, crisp and refreshing sometimes mineral. Tons of complexity here! Then, go for Provence, Languedoc, Navarra and Rioja rosés.

Finally Dessert Styles:
*Golden and sweet wines:these are rich, full of honey, dry apricot and quince flavors. Most of them made from botrytis affected grapes. These are sweet and delicious to have as dessert or with dessert. Go for Sauternes, Quarts de Chaume, Alsace SGN or VT, German Riesling BA or TBA,Hungarian Tokaji or Canadian Ice Wines.
*Warm, fortified wines: if you like these, you like high alcohol, full bodied dessert wines that can taste of molasses, chocolate, raisins, prunes, dates,brown sugar, caramel, toffee, some have been oxidized. Then, go for Port, Madeira and sweet Sherries (Oloroso, PX).
I probably omitted a style or two, but this post should be the beginning for you my Dear Winos and a sample of everything that is out there. Now, what are you waiting for? go discover more! Cheers! Silvina.


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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

More Top Spanish Wine Regions: Ribera del Duero!

Located in the province of Castilla León in Spain, Ribera del Duero is about 100 miles drive north of Madrid. It's much smaller than Rioja and has about 21,000 hectares dedicated to vineyards, all of which are located in the valleys surrounding the Duero river. This river, the second most important of Spain, runs from the province of Soria and moves west across the meseta (high plateau of central Spain) ending its trajectory in Portugal (where it is known as Douro, producing ports and very good dry reds there). 

Ribera del Duero
is known mostly for its delicious and robust reds and like Riojas, these are made from the same grape variety:Tempranillo, known here as Tinto Fino.  Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec are also allowed, but only in small quantities; since each wine must have, by law, a minimum of 75% Tempranillo/Tinto Fino in the blend. 

The climate of Ribera del Duero is continental with very hot summers, easily reaching up to 100º Fahrenheit during the day. Temperatures however, go down at night due to altitude, that plays a very important role here. Most vineyards are planted higher than in Rioja too, between 2,500- 3,000 feet. Ribera del Duero is also much warmer, producing reds that are usually more extracted, luscious, and ripe, I normally describe them as “Tempranillo on Vitamins”, their power and concentration come mostly from very old vines, some of which are between 50 to 80+ years old.  

There are two types of soils in Ribera del Duero, near the river, we find marl, riverbed stones and sediments and on the slopes, limestone, and clay. The river has an enormous impact in the whole area, especially during the Spring, when it moderates temperatures, keeping the area warm and preventing frosts that otherwise will seriously affect yields. 

Like Riojas, Ribera del Duero wines are aged in oak and bottle before release and are classified in the following categories:

* Joven: without any oak aging.

* Crianza: one year in oak and one in a bottle.

* Reservas: 3 years minimum, with 1 year in oak, the rest in a bottle.

* Gran Reservas 5 years minimum with 2 years in oak and the rest in a bottle. Keep in mind that most producers can/will choose to age for much longer times. Aging used to happen in American oak, but nowadays more and more wineries are choosing French oak or a mix of both.

Stylistically, Ribera del Duero wines are super elegant and long lived, they have full bodies, with nice acidity and structure. Their typical aromas are blackberry, black cherry, plum and dried fig. With aging, they show tobacco, dill, coffee, game and leather notes. 

Over 300 wineries make wines in this region. Some of which are very expensive; a clear example is the Vega Sicilia Unico, whose current vintage costs $500 + per bottle; it is by far one of the best reds of Spain, a collectible item and a treat we all should taste in our lifetimes. Other top producers are Alejandro Fernández (Pesquera) and Peter Sisseck (Pingus & Hacienda Monasterio), whose wines impress wine lovers at all price levels. In general, this region produces incredible quality wines, and it’s so much more than "the other Tempranillo appellation", it has a well deserved reputation of its own, which has translated into more and more brands becoming widely available in the US. 

My recommendations: 

I had the pleasure of receiving a bountiful of Ribera del Duero samples, and many from wineries I didn’t know. Though, I must warn you, in general, Riberas are a bit more expensive than Riojas, but so worthwhile! Here are some of my favorites that I have tasted recently: 


Barco de Piedra 2019, $18.99

Bodegas Aster Crianza 2015, $20.99

Dominio Fournier Crianza 2016, $29.99 

Finca La Capilla Crianza 2016, $32.99

Torre d' Goblan Crianza 2016, $34.99

Dominio de Ateuta 2015, $34.99

JC Vizcarra 2014, $34.99

Protos Reserva 2014, $34.99

Dominio Fournier Reserva 2014, $49.99

Protos Gran Reserva 2014, $54.99


Once again thanks to all producers and importers for the samples and to the CRDO Ribera del Duero/ Riberaruedawine.com for the map. 

Cheers! Silvina

#thoughtsoflawina #spanishwines #winesfromspain #tempranillo #tintofino #riberadelduero. 

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