I’ve just received a TWS mailshot about three new exciting wines from Ribera del Duero which prompted a couple of thoughts in quick succession.
there doesn’t appear to be a dedicated corner for RdD on the forum (I’ve had a quick look and that seems to bear out) - so I’m creating one here unless anyone else knows better, in which case happy for it to be cancelled.
there never appear to be very many RdD wines on the TWS list which, with a rolling catalogue of +1700 wines, is a bit underwhelming in terms of representing what is, to my mind at least, one of the great wine regions.
I know some of the more iconic examples from the likes of Vega Sicilia or Dominio de Pingus are probably a bit rich for general consumption, and that there’s been the odd questionable offer in the past (anyone else remember that Viña Pedrosa Gran Reserva which was aged to perfection and utterly unmissable?) … but is this really the best TWS can offer for Ribera del Duero?
I’ve thought the offering was a bit lacking too, but I’ve also noticed what was an under the radar region offering excellent vfm isnt quite the case any more
I’ve come here because of this mailing, but mainly because I’m curious abou the 3* review for the Viña Pedrosa Reserva that I can’t see because TWS reviews widget is a law unto itself
Anyone had it?
Haven’t had it, but the review says
Review by Phillip H. on 14 Apr 2023 - Interesting but a little tart
Not what I would expect for this price point.
Happy to have a dedicated topic for RdD. I’ve raised the subject of the lack of RdD in other threads. I think the reality is that it’s not just a TWS thing, the UK market for RdD is perceived to be limited, and that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when merchants don’t feature it so much.
The very top end is served by the likes of BBR et al, but for the better producers sub-£100, you need to go to specialists or order from the likes of Decantálo or Vinissimus. Waitrose and Majestic aren’t much better than TWS, with a few offerings from decent but not many of the best known producers, and the mainstream supermarkets barely feature RdD at all.
I think it’s partly reputation, Rioja is obviously long established in the UK, and partly price. Generalising somewhat, I think British consumers expect Spanish wine to be cheap, and RdD just isn’t. The domestic (especially Madrid) and US demand means the producers don’t need to sell it on the cheap, and it’s a harder sell at market price (some similarities with Napa there). It’s also not the easiest place to produce wine, especially with vintage consistency, which might also influence trade buyers (just a guess, I’m not in the trade).
I recall there was some discussion earlier this year about TWS potentially offering something from Vega Sicilia, perhaps via First Release, but doesn’t seem to have come to anything. I assume that would be Alión (or perhaps Pintia from Toro), since the higher end wines are probably out of the TWS comfort zone on price (albeit they sell Opus One, so why not Unico, if they can get it?).
I buy mine elsewhere, on the basis that I don’t expect TWS to bend to my will, if I’m in the minority. Nothing wrong with the wines TWS offers, but for me there is better to be had, even if perhaps at a slightly higher price point.
I posted this list previously in the Bohórquez 2017 thread, but perhaps it could be a starting point for discussion about RdD wines people might want to see
Producers I’ve enjoyed over the years (apart from Vega Sicilia and Pingus) include Aalto, Pago de Carraovejas, Pesquera, Acediano, Hacienda Monasterio, Emilio Moro, Pingus PSI, Pradorey, Cillar de Silos, Tomas Postigo, Matarromera, Pinea, Protos (mainly the Crianza) and Arrocal. Alion is also a possibility at the “budget” end of Vega Sicilia’s range. There are many others of course. The ones I’ve listed have a quite a few wines in the £25-50 range, with some in the £50-100 range.
At the more affordable level (let’s say £10-20), there’s also Pago del Cielo, some Valdubon, and maybe Legaris. I only tend to buy these when discounted. Emilio Moro has some of its range which just about gets in this category. Majestic used to sell the entry level Emilio Moro wines, but no more.
Big fan of Pago de Carraovejas, Pesquera, Hacienda Monasterio, Tomas Postigo and Protos…. have tried - but not drunk enough of - some of the others to really opine……
Greater availability of RdD would be much appreciated.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a bottle but I used to enjoy the Cair at the cheaper end of the scale.
There was an offering many years ago when I first joined for a very mature pedrosa reserva. Which resulted in very mixed reviews. I loved mine but some were very unimpressed. Whether this was down to the quality of the wine, bottle variation, or people not liking the very tertiary flavours I don’t know. I may add one into my next order.
I agree that Alión would be a likely candidate for First Release if it was on the cards - that or perhaps Garmón. They’ve both made an appearance on the list before, but neither linger long - which suggests some evidence for there being demand.
I’d love to see Aalto stocked as well.
My personal favourite is Finca Villacreces which comes in around £30 pb, although they also have a sub £20 Pruno which is perfectly quaffable. And a >£150 Nebro, which I’m not inclined to try…
I think that might be the same one I had in mind - 2005 Special Reserve - about which there was quite a lot of hoo-ha.
That was indeed the one. As I say I loved mine but a lot didn’t!
I like there being a decent range of RdD, although the latest RdD tasting I did was one of the ones I least enjoyed (too Parkerized, too concentrated, and sometimes too celebrity endorsed)
That said, the Pesquera, Psi and Vega Sicilia Único are great wines. I’d only consider Psi a vfm wine, though!
Parker was certainly part of the problem as he was in chateauneuf du pape and Bordeaux. Bordeaux are now recovering from Parkerization so there is hope. I prefer the joven wines from Ribero del Duero to avoid the over oaking.
The more serious wines need plenty of ageing for the tannins to recede. Which is why the infamous Vina Pedrosa special reserve was such a disappointment.
Yes, that’s a point. I had a producer whose Roble I liked. Tight, fresh, full but balanced enough. I tried the Crianza to great disappointment
Not sure how relevant this is, but I had the 2009 as part of my VCP way back.
It took a while to come round and required a seriously long decant (6-8hrs) before it opened up, prior to which it was indeed tight, tart and tannic.
When it did relent it was really enjoyable, quite a bit of oak but also some lush black fruit.
I’d say utterly undrinkable …. My case was swiftly returned, I think there was massive bottle variation with that “lot” ……
Anyway, back to RdD. If we’re generalising and this is a very general problem, I think a LOT of RdD struggle with their alcohol content and the wines are overshadowed by how “hot” they are and that’s not pleasant at all when the overriding component to the wine is alcohol. It doesn’t need to be lower, it just needs the fruit and acidity to stand up to the alcohol. I feel a lot of times on the lower end of the price brackets this is an issue .
Yes there are some really good and balanced RdD and some newer producers stepping away from the more traditional heavily oaked styles of RdD such as Quinta Milú who are producing fresher More approachable styles .
Earlier in the year I tasted a range from Bertrand Sourdais called Dominio de Es which come from 85- 200 year old pre-phylloxera vines in San Esteban… they were so well balanced, but yes very pricy … very very good though .
This might be of interest for anyone in trade or able to get on the guest list:
“Guests will be able to try some of the best Ribera del Duero wines available today and find out where they can source the wines from. Open to WSET members, wine-knowledgeable consumers and your (yes, you retailers) best customers, so please let them know.”
Nice. I’ve been wanting to try these, though the top two wines are not only heading into Pingus territory pricewise, they are also produced in tiny quantities. Which vintage(s) did you taste? I recall reading somewhere that the 2020s were significantly lower in ABV than previous vintages (as in around 13% vs 15% for prior years), which I guess will have quite an impact.