Grapevine Archive for April, 2015

Part of my recent trip to Spain with buyer Pierre Mansour was to blend the new vintage of the Rueda white Finca Lallana (formerly known as Las Olas), and which is now available for £7.75.

I was extremely excited about witnessing the birth of a wine. Our hosts and providers were Bodegas Menade, who also produced an artisanal beer named La Burra that some members may remember. The bodega is run by the Sanz family: vineyard management overseen by Marco, his sister Alejandra deals with communications and sales and the pioneering Ricardo is responsible for winemaking.

The stunning flat vineyards in which the fruit for Finca Lallana is grown

The stunning flat vineyards in which the fruit for Finca Lallana is grown

Ricardo’s enthusiasm was infectious as he told us of the winery’s plans. Plantings have increased from 2000 to 3500 but they are producing fewer bunches per plant – typically half of other producers – to increase quality of fruit.

Working with nature and the environment is very much the strategy, promoting biodiversity in a simple way by having beehives in the vineyard and insect hotels. Even the office is CO2 neutral. The bodega first went organic in 2008. The winery is state of the art; sulphur use is minimised by using inert gas to blanket newly picked grapes to preserve freshness and naturally occurring yeasts are encouraged.

Time to blend! Society buyer Pierre Mansour (left) makes his notes

Time to blend! Society buyer Pierre Mansour (left) makes his notes

We were treated to tank sample upon tank sample, all which were to me were all very agreeable. Our buyer Pierre was more measured in his feedback, with a very well-defined idea of what he wanted. One unfortunate sample drew the response ‘this is not Wine Society.’

It was fascinating to see what Pierre was trying to achieve as tank samples were fused together, trying to increase aromatics with an addition here or attempting to reduce acidity there by an omission or fattening the blend by increasing the amount of another sample. The trick was trying to predict how the wine would taste when released after a short period in bottle.

The result is delicious: the perfect way to welcome springtime. It’s an aromatic and refreshing white with similarities to sauvignon blanc, but with the verdejo adding a peachy dimension that is particularly appealing.

Conrad Braganza
The Cellar Showroom

Categories : Spain
Comments (0)

Denis Dubourdieu at The Society

Professor Denis Dubourdieu has just been named Decanter magazine’s Man of the Year

While New Zealand has been responsible for bringing the sauvignon blanc grape to the attention of the wine-drinking world (for which Denis and his son Fabrice Dubourdieu tell us they are grateful!), the work carried out by Denis Dubourdieu at Château Reynon in the late 1980s has also had a global impact.

A professor of oenology as well as agronomist and winemaker, Denis Dubourdieu of Bordeaux properties Château Reynon, Clos Floridène and Doisy-Daëne, made Château Reynon his laboratory. Here he carried out pioneering work on the sauvignon blanc grape developing techniques such as skin contact and lees stirring, to make wines with more intensity and character.

Now these methods are routinely used by fellow winemakers around the world, helping to make sauvignon blanc a household name; the gin and tonic of our time, some have called it!

It’s no secret that white Bordeaux is not as popular as it once was, so can lovers of kiwi sauvignon blanc convert to Bordeaux Blanc? The Dubourdieus certainly believe so: ‘thanks to New Zealand everyone knows what sauvignon blanc is and has a rough idea of how it should taste. But sauvignon blanc needs to reinvent itself all the time or it can become boring and consumers can be like unfaithful lovers, they get bored if it is always the same! You need to offer something a little different to keep their interest.’

That Denis Dubourdieu has been named Decanter magazine’s Man of the Year comes as no surprise to those familiar with his work and the huge contribution that he has made to the world of winemaking.

sauvignon blanc grapesTurning lovers of kiwi sauvignons onto Bordeaux Blanc
It’s no secret that white Bordeaux is not as popular as it once was, so can lovers of kiwi sauvignon blanc convert to Bordeaux Blanc? The Dubourdieus certainly believe so: ‘thanks to New Zealand everyone knows what sauvignon blanc is and has a rough idea of how it should taste. But sauvignon blanc needs to reinvent itself all the time or it can become boring and consumers can be like unfaithful lovers, they get bored if it is always the same! You need to offer something a little different to keep their interest.’

Their Château Reynon Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (£10.50) appeals, they say, both to those that are a bit fed up with the OTT style of sauvignons and to chardonnay lovers at the same time. ‘Delicate with white-peach aromas, it is not too aggressive,’ says Fabrice, explaining how fermentation in large old oak casks and ageing on lees and in oak provide a natural, sugar-free sweetness to the flavour, yet impart no oak character.

Elegant and fragrant, it is easy to see how this wine could seduce and attract a roving eye. It’s the perfect aperitif or match for seafood and salads, sashimi or roe.

So if you enjoy sauvignon blanc, don’t forget about Bordeaux Blanc!

Joanna Goodman
News Editor

Categories : Bordeaux, France
Comments (0)

‘I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.’ (Confucious)

Katherine Douglas

Katherine Douglas

Over the years I have attended many Wine Society tastings and events, but a recent visit to the Three Choirs Vineyards in Newent this weekend stands out as one of my more memorable experiences.

I enjoy these events for the wines we taste, for the opportunity to meet other members and share enthusiasms, and for meeting the producers themselves who speak with such an infectious passion about what they do and why, that it is impossible not to be inspired. I also enjoy these events because, like many members, I am curious about the people, the process, and the product; learning about them enhances my enjoyment.

This, however, was a tasting with a difference. As is usual at these events, we were given a fascinating introduction to the vineyard and its wines from Martin Fowke, award-winning winemaker and head of Three Choirs Vineyards (and I am resisting the temptation to tell you what I learned from him about the Geneva Double Curtain, among many other intriguing details of wine production); we also enjoyed a delicious lunch in the Three Choirs restaurant with wines selected from Three Choirs and The Wine Society List. But the highlight for me, and I think a first for a Wine Society event, was the blending workshop that took place among the vats, tanks and barrels of the Three Choirs winery.

Martin Fowke showing Society members the vineyards

Martin Fowke showing Society members the vineyards

Members were organised into teams and challenged to produce a wine blended from three grape varieties produced in the Three Choirs vineyard (madeleine angevine, reichensteiner and phoenix); we were also given a small amount of suss reserve (concentrated grape juice) which is added to adjust the level of sweetness.

In effect we were being given the opportunity to gain a practical insight into the task that Martin Fowke and Mark Buckenham, Wine Society buyer, had recently carried out in blending the next vintage of Midsummer Hill, a wine produced by Three Choirs exclusively for The Wine Society.

The blending workshop in  in the Three Choirs winery

The blending workshop in in the Three Choirs winery

To reflect the realities of wine production we were given very specific parameters within which to work: restrictions were place on the relative quantities we were permitted to use of each variety, just as yields and individual characteristics of each single variety affect the choices available to a winemaker in any one vintage. This ‘learning by doing’, with the additional pressures of limited time and collective inexperience, was really hard work! It was a unanimous view of the members present that this was also a great deal of fun.

As our team blends were reproduced in bottle (we were to have the opportunity to try out our wines at lunch) and we made our way to the restaurant, I reflected on something Martin had said at the beginning of the day as he described the development of vine growing and winemaking over his thirty years at the Three Choirs Vineyards: in the process of winemaking we are ‘learning all the time’. Cheers!

Katherine Douglas
Committee Member

Categories : England, Wine Tastings
Comments (2)
Tue 21 Apr 2015

Bordeaux 2014: First Tastes & Unexpected Treats

Posted by: | Comments (2)

I was recently fortunate enough to pay a flying visit to Bordeaux with Society buyers Tim Sykes, Joanna Locke MW and Sebastian Payne MW to gain some insights into how well the 2014 vintage had turned out in Bordeaux.

View our opening offer of the top wines from Bordeaux 2014

Having made similar trips in previous vintages I knew that tasting the ‘primeurs’, as they call them in Bordeaux, is no picnic. Tasting a hundred or so young, tannic reds before breakfast is not unheard of and not for the faint-hearted! But there is really no substitute for tasting and retasting the wines side by side in situ to form a proper judgement before making our selection for members.

François Mitjaville

François Mitjaville of Tertre Rôteboeuf and Roc de Cambes – my personal wines of the vintage.

On this occasion we had an exceptionally early start leaving at 2am on Sunday to catch the first flight to Bordeaux to make a big négociant tasting of more than 200 wines at 9.30am. Four hours later we had a quick lunch followed by another tasting of a similar number of wines with another négociant; our palates and critical faculties were being put to the test, but this is where the experience and professionalism of our buyers come into their own.

By now I too had gained a feel for the character of the vintage and there were already proving to be some real highlights among the wines. We had heard producers talk optimistically about the 2014 vintage being saved by a late summer and the wines certainly seem better than any of the last three years and have a real freshness about them; very much in a classic mould.

I confess, after such an early start and packed programme with so many wines to taste, I was a little apprehensive about the schedule for any equally long day on the Monday. But one of the visits planned was to prove the highlight of the trip: a visit to the cellars of François Mitjaville, who owns Tertre Rôteboeuf and Roc de Cambes.

Though I have helped to sell both wines to members for more than 20 years I have never had the opportunity to try them. And what a treat it was, not least because François is such a charming host and very generous with his time, most eloquently and patiently explaining the different character of each of his vineyards as he took us round them, huddled under an umbrella against the pouring rain.

Somewhat relieved to get out of the rain, we made our way to his cellar, a short walk from the vineyard, set up on the slope above Saint-Emilion to taste, straight from barrel, what were, I thought, my wines of the vintage. Both Roc de Cambes and Tertre Rôteboeuf have an ethereal quality about them and I was hugely impressed.

His passion and drive for high quality were inspirational and really left a mark on me, as did the wines, whose memory I shall savour. After tasting more than 400 wines from the 2014 vintage I can say that I am extremely optimistic about this vintage.

Shaun Kiernan
Fine Wine Manager

Our first offer of en primeur 2014 clarets is now available. This is an opportunity to pre-order the top red wines of Bordeaux with prices shown as a guide at this stage.

Find out more about buying wines en primeur (or from opening offers).

Categories : Bordeaux, France
Comments (2)
Mon 20 Apr 2015

A Plea For Help: Wine Glossary

Posted by: | Comments (21)

Do you know your carbonic macerations from your malolatic fermentations? Your dosage from your assemblage or your lees from your flor?

Or are you occasionally forced into the odd bout of head scratching? If you fall into the latter category then not to worry, as we know you’re not alone.

Wine

The Society has a wide and diverse membership, which is one of the joys of working here and yet simultaneously one of the challenges faced when communicating about wine. It’s very difficult to gauge the level of wine knowledge of hundreds of thousands of members.

I know from personal experience of meeting members in The Society’s Cellar Showroom and out and about on tastings that many members are extremely knowledgeable about wine with a depth of understanding that many wine professionals would be proud of.

I also know that there are many members who are much newer to wine and for whom the sheer number of terms and technical descriptions can seem more like coming to grips with a foreign language than understanding something as pleasurable as wine.

The Society’s buyers and our dedicated Copy Team constantly strive to make all our wine notes and descriptions as accessible and thorough as possible (quite a task given space constraints in our printed materials and the vast number of wines stocked) however the one size fits all perfect wine note is something as elusive as the snipe illustrated on the label of The Society’s Red Burgundy.

With this in mind and following on from member feedback last year we have decided to include a glossary of terms in The Society’s next List (an online version is already available here) starting from July. Although we will only be able to feature a small selection of terms in the list it is hoped that we can cover the most common ones and point members to our more comprehensive online glossary.

The stumbling block is selecting which terms to include. The people best placed to choose are of course you, the members!

So let us know which phrases have you reaching for the Oxford companion to wine and which terms are enough to drive you to drink! With your help we can compile a list of the most common culprits and feature them in The Society’s quarterly List and convert head scratching time into more pleasurable drinking time!

Gareth Park
Marketing Campaigns Manager

Categories : Miscellaneous
Comments (21)
Thu 16 Apr 2015

Appellation Spring: the Côtes du Rhône

Posted by: | Comments (1)

Spring in the southern Rhône is not reliably balmy (20 degrees on arrival, eight on departure) but it guarantees a quiet, untouristy Avignon, the joy of a deserted Pope’s Palace to explore, with nothing but a bit of piped plainsong for company, and the space to dance on the remains of the pont.

Alas, my own celebratory twirl, just after the Wales XV’s surely unsurpassable 61- 20 victory over Italy, was scuppered by the rest of Six Nations Super-Saturday. Talk about a bridge not far enough!

It’s also the end of the black truffle season, with generous last hurrahs festooning the chic plates of every restaurant worth rooting out. And should you tire of this embarrassment of black gold, there’s always an old-fashioned daube avignonnaise to warm the cockles (more on that later).

Spring vines in Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Spring vines in Châteauneuf-du-Pape

No need for that on a cerulean and blossomy spring day in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, whence we tootled pleasantly in our shirt-sleeves to Vacqueyras and Gigondas. The Dentelles de Montmirail basked prettily in the sun as we continued north to Vinsobres and Valréas, and beyond, almost to the point where the mediterranean south gives way, sometimes abruptly, to the continental northern Rhône. I recall once driving through sleet in Tain l’Hermitage only to start tearing off layers of thermals on arrival at Montélimar.

My target on that occasion was not a nougat-matching workshop, but the Coteaux du Tricastin, some 30km south-east of the town. Originally designated vin délimité de qualité supérieure (VDQS), this region has relaunched itself as AOC Grignan-les Adhémar and in quick succession, has earned its place both in The Society’s current List and in my heart. It’s ridiculously cheap and utterly delicious. A fine 2013 bottling from Delas (£6.95) is currently flying off our shelves. A delightful 2012 from Domaine de Montine is also in stock for £7.95 and shows the appeal of this region’s wines with aplomb.

Château de Grignan

Château de Grignan

Grignan is a pleasant little town, with a narrow back street that twists charmingly up to the eponymous Château. Cue the Adhémars, its proprietors, a powerful and landed local family, one of whose scions married the only daughter of the Marquise de Sévigné, 17th-century doyenne of witty and elegant letter-writing. Many comic (and tragic) scenarios are based on the notion of a visiting ma-in-law who refuses to go home, but this one liked the place so much that she is buried in the church below.

The real heroine of Château de Grignan, though, was Marie Fontaine, widow of a naval officer whom, with admirable timing, she married just before he inherited a fortune and died, leaving her with the means to restore the place to its former glory in 1912.

The Adhémar family name lives on in a number of places close by, including Montélimar itself (derived from Le Mont de l’Adhémar) and, with the town, these define the 1800ha of grenache,syrah, cinsault, carignan, mourvèdre and viognier laid down by the appellation.

Now, back to that beef stew, and what puts the Avignon in the daube avignonnaise we enjoyed on our return to the city. Our waitress explained that it was, oh, just beef, olives and good red Rhône wine, Madame but a lifetime of trying, repeatedly, to recreate this kind of thing at home has turned me into another kind of griller.

The famous 'galet', or pudding stone, soil of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, pictured at Château Mont-Redon

The famous ‘galet’, or pudding stone, soil of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, pictured at Château Mont-Redon

It emerged that the meat is beef cheeks, which would certainly explain the unctuousness of the sauce. Secondly, the olives are black, local, home-cured, well herbed and stone-in. Thirdly, the wine is set alight, without assistance from the spirit world, at least not the one labelled marc du Châteauneuf.

The view from Château de Grignan

The view from Château de Grignan

This is a new one on me and I can’t wait to try it though I suspect that even in these days of creeping alcohol levels, it may be challenging. I even wondered if I’d been teleported to April 1st, and indeed, having now looked up this dish, I note that it’s traditionally lamb and white wine (uncombusted) that define a daube avignonnaise. The one I ate near the Place de l’Horloge, was nothing of the kind and so tasty that I’m sticking with it, just as it is still sticking with me and my midriff.

So, once browned in olive oil, the meat goes into the casserole with all the other ingredients not mentioned in the first spec, but charmingly and collectively described as ‘tout ce qu’il faut’: the time-honoured rhythm section of chopped celery, carrots and onions, softened in the residual browning fat, a good sprinkling of garlic and a bouquet garni of fresh Provence herbs (bay, rosemary, thyme) with a pinch of the dried variety for intensity. The wine is flamed (good luck!) in the browning pan and that goes in too, with the olives. Three or four hours in a slowish oven work their magic.

The partners of choice are olive-oil mash, and, of course, a goodly glass of Grignan-les-Adhémar which will dance on the palate, if not on the pont.

Janet Wynne Evans
Fine Wine Editor

To read more about Château de Grignan log onto chateaux.ladrome.fr.

Another fine place to visit is Château Suze-La-Rousse, near Bollène, headquarters of the Université du Vin and atmospheric venue for wine education, tastings and food-matching classes.

The Class of 2013 Rhône, our current showcase of the best for drinking this spring and summer, is available until Sunday 26th April while stocks last.

Categories : France, Rhône
Comments (1)
Mon 13 Apr 2015

Tasting Rauzan-Ségla and Canon with John Kolasa

Posted by: | Comments (2)

John Kolasa tasting

The picture displays the riches that were on offer at The Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh recently but cannot begin to convey the whole experience shared by forty members and their guests. A re-run of a tasting held in London four years ago (just 10 wines then, 14 this time in Scotland) this event brought John Kolasa ‘home’ to Scotland to share his observations and passions over his 40+ years in Bordeaux, eight of which at the helm of first growth Château Latour, the last twenty presiding over Châteaux Rauzan-Ségla in Margaux and Canon in St-Emilion on behalf of the Wertheimer family of Chanel.

The tasting spanned a range of vintages from 2011 back to 1998 across these two fine properties, including second wines Clos (now Croix) Canon and Ségla.

Quality, predictably, was high – to be expected from two top classed growth properties in such safe and experienced hands and with the backing of one of the world’s great fashion houses. The wines also displayed a sense of place coupled with clear vintage differences. A fascinating and very special event we wish more could have enjoyed, especially given the positive feedback from John’s fellow Scots on the night.

Jo Locke MW
Society Buyer

Wed 08 Apr 2015

An Explorer’s Paradise: New Wines

Posted by: | Comments (0)

The publication of our April List (subtitled ‘An Explorer’s Paradise’) brings a wealth of new wines to our range.

Below we reproduce the introduction to this List, which focuses on some of them. You can take a look at all of the new wines here, and a selection of lesser-known gems (including a mixed case) can be found in our Exploration Wines section. Enjoy!

Whatever floats your boat (and it won’t cost you more)
The Wine Society April ListThe world is a very much smaller place these days. In the twinkling of an eye we can have most of it on a plate or in a glass, and the challenge is to stay head. As one of our trendsetting buying team recently tweeted from the field, ‘this place is crawling with wine buyers!’

Finding gold, especially the liquid variety, is no achievement if there are no takers for it. Here The Society scores highly because our members are firmly on board. Finding something you like and sticking with it, despite the myriad other options available, is not our way.

Consider some of the treasures brought home for this April List: our first red and white from Crete (£8.95 and £9.95 respectively), a new Lebanese red from Château Ksara (£15.50) and a Spanish abillo (£11.50) and Hungarian kékfrankos (£13.95) to add to an already considerable varietal count.

More familiar regions don’t stand still either. For those of us more deeply concerned about the land than the seven seas, you’ll find three organically grown Chiantis from prime estates Fontodi (£17), Frascole (£10.50) and La Leccia (£11.95). Equally agrochemical-free are a new mencia (£9.50) from Portugal’s rugged Beira Interior, a white Chinon (£11.50) and a Bulgarian pinot noir (£9.95) which convinced exacting Burgundy-fancier Sebastian Payne MW.

Finally, let’s not underestimate the fun of rediscovery. A welter of delicious 2014 white Bordeaux for instance (please search the website for a full listing), or a cracking new manzanilla (£7.95) to get the palate racing.

All prices are, again, held in this List. We wish all members a pleasant voyage of discovery.

Categories : Miscellaneous
Comments (0)
Tue 07 Apr 2015

Rolling Out The Barrel in Ribera

Posted by: | Comments (0)

The humble oak barrel has been with us for centuries, peacefully protecting and preserving various liquids.

During my recent visit to Ribera del Duero, I witnessed first hand how ageing in oak barrels can complement the taste of a wine and, by chance, visited a bodega where they had a cooperage on site, allowing an anorak like myself to witness the birth of a 500-litre barrel.

After sourcing the oak, the cut wood is left to its own devices and exposed to the elements for two years to season the wood. During this time the undesirable bitter tannins leech out and dissipate. The wood is then covered for a further year to stabilise, ready to be made into a barrel.

Oak seasoning in the sun

Oak seasoning in the sun

Oak in Ribera del Duero

As we approached the cooperage I could feel heat emanating out and the aroma drifting from this area had the unmistakable (and rather soothing) sweet smell of smoke.

The planks are then cut to shape to make the 28 staves that make up a barrel. They need to be accurate so they fit together perfectly: no adhesive is used and the barrel needs to be water tight!

Oak in Ribera del Duero

Ready to made into barrels

Ready to made into barrels.

Once rings are attached to one end of the barrel, it is then either heated with steam . This softens the wood ahead of bending into shape, or (as is more common in winemaking) toasted to release flavour.

Toasting time!

Toasting time!

Old oak chips in burners provide the means for this, the level of toasting dependant on what the winemaker wants for their wine.

Oak in Ribera del Duero

Oak in Ribera del Duero

Oak in Ribera del Duero

Having then been sprayed with the water to soften the wood, the barrel is slowly coaxed into shape and the final ring is persuaded on.

Oak in Ribera del Duero

Time to roll out the barrel… and fill it!

Oak in Ribera del Duero

Conrad Braganza
The Cellar Showroom

Categories : Spain
Comments (0)
Thu 02 Apr 2015

A Face To A Name: Visiting Ribera de Duero

Posted by: | Comments (6)

For me it is always good putting a face to a name. It can change one’s perception and aid appreciation.

This is also true of wine regions.

I was fortunate enough to travel with our buyer for Spain, Pierre Mansour, to visit producers in Ribera del Duero, taking in Pérez Pascuas (where Gavilan is produced), Bodegas y Viñedos de Monteabellón (where Avaniel comes from) and the legendary Vega Scilia.

After a two-hour drive, we ascended slowly and emerged at what seemed the top of the world onto the plateau some 800m above sea level where Ribera del Duero sits. The area felt barren and harsh – admittedly it was winter, but it did not have hospitable feel of an area that could grow anything, let alone grapes for wine!

The main variety grown, as in Rioja, is tempranillo (known locally as tinto fino or tinto pais), which, remarkably, does flourish in these conditions and produces better fruit in poor soil. Some cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec is also grown and blended in some Riberas. The white grape grown is albillo, but it is its reds for which Ribera is famous.

Given that Ribera only gained its official DO status in 1982, one might be forgiven for thinking that this is a relatively new region, but winemaking goes back to Roman times here, and many bodegas have had generations of the same family at their helm.

Attaining DO status appears to have been the catalyst for an influx of investment since and now state-of-the-art winemaking equipment abounds. The region grew from some 20 producers to now over 200. One winemaker we met said, ‘Before the new winery it was like painting the sky with one blue, now I have a whole palette of blues.’

State-of-the-art winery facilities and attention to detal: at Vega Sicilia even the drains are branded!

State-of-the-art winery facilities and attention to detail: at Vega Sicilia even the drains are branded!

Temperature wise, days can be very hot here – up to 40C – but then dropping to cold evenings. Diurnal temperature differences of 30C are not uncommon. The Duero river of course has a role in tempering these conditions, as does growing at this altitude. However, frosts are also a real issue; some occur as late as September, as was the case in 2007. One winemaker commented, ‘2007 wasn’t a wine – it was a miracle!’

But it is these variations in temperature, combined with a typical vine age of over 30 years, that contributes to the character of these wines: they have incredible concentration and tannic structure from the heat of the day, but the coolness of the evenings allow the grapes to compose themselves and preserve acidity, meaning that the wines retain a beautiful seam of freshness.

We found the quality of the fruit to be good and healthy, and the wines we tried shone through and revealed great purity of fruit and fragrance. There was great structure too , and a gamut of flavours from sweet fruits of the forest to dark fruits, taking in herbal notes, a mineral mildness and a subtle savoury quality; all held together with firm to velvety tannins.

Oak contact also defines these wines. The careful toasting of the oak and choice of French or American oak enhanced the body and flavour of these wines imparting an array of spices introducing notes of mocha, tar and coconut, as well as the more common vanilla.

I now have a greater sense of wines from Ribera and their quality – wines that I feel offer an appealing generosity and a character entirely different from Rioja. The wines have their own distinctive style and identity. Take for instance the Avaniel (£7.50), a fresh-tasting, fruit-forward Ribera made without oak; or try the bold Gavilan (£10.95) to get a feel for the dense dark fruit, all backed up with a toasted oak background. To witness its aging potential, try the 2009 Viña Pedrosa Reserva (£26), which has concentration balanced with elegance and poise; it’s starting to drink well now but will also reward those who can be patient. All would suit hearty meals!

For someone in an advisory role, like myself, a foray into a region like this provides better understanding of a region and people, and ultimately the wine. I left with the overriding impression that Ribera del Duero is an area where tradition and technology have married together harmoniously.

Seeing really is believing.

Conrad Braganza
The Cellar Showroom

Categories : Spain
Comments (6)