Ribera del Duero
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California Cabernet drinkers need to discover the wines of Ribera del Duero. These wines may be some of the most lush, full-bodied, oak-scented, hedonistically-styled wines to be coming out of Europe, today.
Top-end Ribera del Duero wines traditionally see long periods of aging in new oak (often American, sometimes French), imparting a roasted character at once recognizable and unique (think espresso roast, toasted coconut, toffee, butterscotch and vanilla). The more value-oriented wines may, by financial necessity, need to dial back some of the new oak, but often still find ways of capturing echoes of the region—from the blue-fruited intensity, to the smoky or vanilla-rich nuances. Great Ribera del Duero has the depth, richness and deliciousness of high-end California Cabernet (and usually at a better price), along with an element of freshness so often lacking in blockbuster Cab.
The short growing season in Ribera del Duero features incredibly wide diurnal temperature fluctuations. This climate allows the Tempranillo grapes to bake under a searing hot sun during the day, and then recover throughout the cool night, retaining plenty of natural acidity. While the style may be “international,” this combination of power and freshness is difficult to find anywhere else.
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