D.O. Ribera del Duero

Helen Unger Clark – www.translate.wine

Today’s featured region is one of the most popular in Spain and my personal favorite: the Ribera del Duero.

LOCATION: The Ribera del Duero is a region that is located, as its name indicates, along the banks of the Duero river in the southern half of the province of Castilla y León. The wineries are located along a 70-mile stretch of the Duero River. Given that the region is located on Spain’s meseta, all the wineries are at a high elevation, some even reaching a half a mile above sea level! The temperatures can vary enormously, especially in the summer when it’s not uncommon for it to be in the high 30s during the day and drop below 20ºC at night.

Ribera del Duero map via: By Té y kriptonita – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6641196

GRAPES: For a red wine from the Ribera del Duero to be recognized by the D.O., it must be least 75% tempranillo. That is easy to achieve—95% of the grapes grown in the region are tempranillo! Wines may also be made from cabernet sauvignon, garnacha/grenache, malbec, merlot, and albillo mayor. Up until 2019, only red and rosé wines were considered D.O. wines. However, wineries are now allowed to label white wines as D.O. wines, as long as they are made with a minimum of 75% albillo mayor.

PRODUCERS: Unlike the first region I mentioned, the Ribera del Duero region has at least 270 wineries with over 55,000 acres of vineyards. According to the Ribera y Rueda website, this is up from just 9 producers and 15,000 acres when the Ribera del Duero became a D.O. in 1982! Vega Sicilia’s flagship wine “Unico” is a Ribera del Duero. However, there are MANY much smaller wineries with amazing products to try.

OTHER FUN FACTS: I love this quote from the Ribera y Rueda website: “Full-bodied without going Godzilla-overboard, Ribera del Duero tempranillos are about as food-friendly as red wines get.”

To learn more about wines from this region, check out: https://www.riberaruedawine.com/ribera-del-duero/

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