Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 58

YEAR'S BEST
RIBERA DEL DUERO REDS
Our blind panels tasted 137 new-release Ribera del Duero wines over the past 12 months. Our critic for the region, Joshua Greene,
rated 46 as exceptional (90+) and 7 as Best Buys. Find a complete list of wines tasted and all reviews at wineandspiritsmagazine.com.
1277087

96 | Vega-Sicilia

$700

Ribera del Duero Unico Reserva Especial ^
Unico Reserva Especial stands apart. Gonzalo Iturriaga heads up Vega-Sicilia's winemaking team, which begins to blend lots of
Unico in the sixth year of aging. For this 2020
release, the five-member team decided on a
blend of wines harvested in 2008, 2009 and
2010. The wine's dynamic flavor complexity
captures the essence of Ribera del Duero in
its austerity and grace. It has the flavor of a
black fruit that only exists in the tiny berries of ancient vines grown on north-facing
hills in the gypsum-rich clay-and-limestone
soils of Valbuena de Duero, in the province of
Val-ladolid. It's a fresh, brisk blend with deep
bass notes of mushrooms and leather while
scents of rose petals and black plums rise to
contrast them. As chewy as a black mushroom, as meaty as grass-fed beef, this lasts
with a quiet red-fruit glow, with the freshness
of the cold sun. Reserva Especial will develop
for decades, and this is a particularly impressive release. ¤ Europvin USA, Van Nuys, CA
277100

95 | Emilio Moro

$500

2014 Ribera del Duero Clon de la Familia ^
Each release of Clon de la Familia has taken
a step up in elegance, with this fourth deserving the highest praise yet. It's a selection
from three parcels in Pesquera de Duero,
which the Moro family consider their best,
planted 35 to 45 years ago using plant material selected from Valderramiro, their oldest
block, dating to 1924. Each of the three parcels grows on different soils, one on clay, one
on chalk, one on stones. In 2014, their fruit
came together in a wine destined to become
a classic. It's deep and fragrant, with layers of
rose-petal power, of spicy charcuterie, supple
red fruit and fine-grained leather. Remarkably, it feels clean and crisp even as it keeps
offering up heady complexities. This has the
stamina to age for decades. ¤ USA Wine West,
Sausalito, CA
276934

94 | Hermanos
	 Pérez Pascuas

$275

2012 Ribera del Duero Gran Reserva
Pérez Pascuas Gran Selección ^ This is the
top selection from the Pérez Pascuas fami58

WINE & SPIRITS

JUNE 2020

ly's vineyards, focused on fruit from parcels
where the vines are more than 70 years old.
And it's lovely juice. Notably fresh (rather
than acidic) for a wine of its age, this tastes of
crunchy black currants and a more ethereal
raspberry gentleness, the fruit vibrant and
generous straight through to the end. The
age shows in undertones of tar and mushrooms, charcuterie and leather, all knit into
the richness of the fruit, lending complexity
that lasts. ¤ Think Global, Santa Barbara, CA
276885

94 | Resalte de Peñafiel

$60

94 | Resalte de Peñafiel

$250

2015 Ribera del Duero Resalte Expresión ^
The fruit selection for this wine focuses on
three towns-Fuentenebro, La Aguilera and
Pedrosa-and small hillside parcels where
the vines are 50 years old. The juice heads
into new barrels (90 percent French) for
malolactic conversion and then 18 months
of aging. Rather than any overt oak tannins or scents, it is the succulent quality of
the fruit that comes through in this wine's
damson-plum richness, layered with savory
meatiness and earthy spice. The smoke and
chocolate tones that developed over its time
in oak are completely integrated into those
layers of flavor, the wine all about delicious
richness. ¤ Toros & Vinos, Miami, FL
276890
Ribera del Duero 8 Essences Cuvée No. 1 ^
It has taken Enrique Andrades more than a
decade to plan and produce this first release
of 8 Essences. During that time, he held back
several barrels from the best vintages for this
blend, choosing 2011 for its power and ripeness, 2012 for elegance and minerality and
2016 to bring floral notes, fresh fruit and juiciness. Acknowledging that the inspiration for
this blend comes from Vega-Sicilia's Unico
Reserva Especial, a wine that nods to the
blending traditions of the region, Andrades's
goal was to create a distinctive style for this
blend. He describes that style as a contrast of
finely aged lots and fresher fruity elements to
sustain the wine as it ages further. What he's
achieved is a layered and sophisticated blend,
its tense structure yielding notes of ripe black
cherries, purple plum, green olives and, yes,
some floral notes. There are also substantial

tannins, shutting the wine down, needing
days of air to fulfill the wine's promises of
fruit richness. It's a fascinating take on Ribera
del Duero and a wine to treasure in your cellar. ¤ Toros & Vinos, Miami, FL
277176

94 | Valduero

$48

2014 Ribera del Duero Reserva ^ Yolanda
García Viadero and her family farm 495
acres of bush vines, which they planted in
the late 1980s in the town of Gumiel del
Mercado, at an elevation around 2,750 feet
above sea level. They farm without chemicals
and age their reserva-level wines in French
oak barrels against the walls of a deep 15thcentury limestone cellar in town. This is the
García Viaderos' take on modern Ribera del
Duero-rather than the radical-traditional
style of Goyo, Yolanda's brother, who split
from the family to tend ancient vines and
produce fresh field blends without sulfur.
Much as I love the work Goyo does and the
beauty of the results, I can't deny the beauty
of Yolanda's 2014. It's floral and elegant,
evolving toward an idealized vision of what
tempranillo can be. The wine's tart red fruit
has exciting freshness six years after harvest,
offering notes of game and black plum skin,
pear-like acidity and clarity. Lovely. ¤ South
River Imports, Edgewater, MD
277085

94 | Vega-Sicilia

$200

2015 Ribera del Duero Valbuena 5 ^ While
Vega-Sicilia's Unico grows on the north-facing slopes across the road from the winery,
the fruit for Valbuena focuses on colluvial
soils at the base of the hills, including parcels across the river to the north. This vintage includes six percent merlot, the varieties
from Bordeaux being a founding tradition of
the estate. And the merlot seems to point up
the wine's perfumed cherry flavors. Though
generously oaked, the wine's elegance gives
it a traditional feel, its fruit tannins equal to
the oak tannins, the flavors lasting on licorice, warm purple plum and bright notes
of strawberry tops. A classic vintage of Valbuena, this should age with grace. ¤ Europvin
USA, Van Nuys, CA
276963


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Wine & Spirits - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - June 2020

Contents
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - Cover1
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - Cover2
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 1
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - Contents
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 3
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Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - Cover3
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - Cover4
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