Ribera del Duero
Well known and loved by wine enthusiasts, the wines from Spain's Ribera del Duero region in Castilla-León include such legendary names as Vega Sicilia, Pingus, and Mauro. Beyond the prestigious bodegas, Ribera del Duero boasts numerous enchanting wineries to visit.
Beyond wine, the area is home to amazingly well preserved castles–the best I have seen in Spain–; sublime charcuterie from nearby Guijelo; rich lechazo (roast baby lamb) and cochinillo (roast suckling pig); some of the best sheep's milk cheese in Spain; luxurious five-star hotels; a new Michelin-star restaurant.
Succulent lamb and robust sheep's milk cheeses pair perfectly with the wines in Ribera del Duero. Vega Sicilia and Pingus rank among the world's best wines, but there are many other great wines here. Together with neighboring Toro and Cigales wine regions, the Ribera del Duero is worthy of a few days trying the wines and indulging in food from classic tapas to Michelin-starred innovations.
Wines of Rioja & Ribera del Duero
The beautiful Rioja region is bordered by the dramatic Sierra de Cantabria mountains to the north and the Sierra de la Demanda to the south. These ranges protect the Rioja from the extreme continentality of central Spain and the moisture and storms of the Atlantic. The Ebro river runs through the region, and many premier wines, such as López de Heredia, Muga, Roda, and La Rioja Alta, are made from vineyards lining its banks. Others take advantage of the high altitude offered by the nearby mountain ranges. Tempranillo is the predominant red grape variety grown here, although many Rioja reds contain small amounts of other grapes. The grape varieties allowed for red Rioja wines include Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo; the varieties allowed for white wines include Viura, Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca. Rioja has increasingly produced barrel-aged white wines to critical acclaim.
The high-altitude Ribera del Duero region north of Madrid is centered on the Duero River where the iconic wineries–Vega Sicilia, Pingus, etc–are located. The altitude and extreme continental climate help to build structured elegant and often bold wines, made almost entirely from Tempranillo (known here as Tinta del País or Tinto Fino). These wines benefit from aging, especially the reservas and gran reservas. A better match for the hearty local cuisine than Ribera wines would be hard to come by. Top recommended dishes are roast baby lamb, hearty stews and sheep’s milk cheeses. Ribera is not only about the well known wines favored by the critics and wine enthusiasts. New players have entered the field, typically smaller wineries, whose innovative practices in the field and in the bodega are expanding on the flavors of Ribera del Duero wines.
Ribera del Duero Wine Tours
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