Reach For The Wines Of Ribera del Duero

Throughout April, we're celebrating the wines of Ribera del Duero with Ribera del Duero UK's #ReachforRiberaDelDuero2024 campaign.

Described as “one of the most exciting wine regions in the world” by Tim Atkin MW and named the Best Wine Region of 2012 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Ribera del Duero wines are becoming increasingly sought after by discerning drinkers, helped by big names such as Vega Sicilia and Alion.

Also known in the region as Tinta del País or Tinto Fino, the Tempranillo grape is the main variety and gives the red wines of Ribera del Duero their characteristic colour, aroma and body. Whereas Rioja wines tend to have lots of red fruit aromas and flavours with notes of vanilla, Ribera del Duero wines typically have a deeper colour, higher but smooth tannins, a fuller body and more intense rich, black fruit flavours and oaky notes. The wines appeal both to lovers of Bordeaux and Napa Valley, so if you’re a Cabernet Sauvignon fan, you should try wines from the Ribera del Duero region.

Located in Castilla y León, north of Madrid, Ribera del Duero D.O. benefits from complex soils, old vines, high altitudes and challenging climates, each and every wine from this extraordinary region is an honest reflection of its own unique terroir. The river is born in the Picos de Urbión mountains in Soria at over 2,000 meters of altitude and flows down to the Atlantic ocean in Porto, Portugal where it's known as the Douro.

Formed during the Miocene era, the river basin of the Duero has horizontal, gently undulating levels created by differential erosion leaving areas of different soils; stony, limestone, and clay. The elegance and complexity of the wine comes from the limestone soils and the strong tannins and deep colour are thanks to the thick skins that protect the grapes from UV at the high altitude at which they grow.

The climate of Ribera del Duero D.O. has been summed up as "nine months of winter and three months of hell"! Rather than cause chaos for winegrowers, the intense cold spells delay the budding of the vines, then, the dramatic changes in temperature between day and night at the end of the summer create a perfect balance in the fruit during ripening.

 Almost 10% of Ribera del Duero vineyards were planted before 1940 making them over 80 years old, which add further depth and complexity of flavour to these unique wines.


Three Ribera del Duero wines we love...

Rippa Dorii Ribera del Duero Crianza 2020 £15.99

The name Rippa Dorii is the Latin form of ‘Ribera del Duero’, inspired by the nearby 13th century chapel of Santa Maria de Ripa Dorii, in Torrecilla de la Abadesa. Full of aromas of bramble fruit, vanilla, nutmeg and sweet spice. The palate is rich and complex with blueberry and blackberry fruit, ripe tannins and great length. Excellent with herb-encrusted lamb chops, any dishes with smoky chorizo, and hearty vegetable casseroles.


 Arzuaga Tinto Crianza Ribera del Duero 2020 £29.99

The flagship of Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro, this is powerful on the nose with diverse aromas of coconut, raisins, caramel, cinnamon and vanilla. There is a dominance of ripe red and black fruits with spicy touches and balsamic notes with a roasted finish. Full-bodied, aromatic but elegant and complex too. Pair with traditional Spanish fare (particularly Jamón Ibérico), lamb or beef cooked in a rich sauce, pork with black olives and capers, duck breast with blackberry or cherry sauce, mushroom risotto, spicy bean or lentil dishes, and rustic venison or wild boar.


Vega Sicilia Alion Ribera del Duero 2019 £109.99

Vega Sicilia was the founding estate for Ribera del Duero, first put on the vinous map in 1864 by Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves. The grapes for Alión come from the very best areas of the Ribera del Duero DO region. Produced from a selection of vineyards sprawling across 130 hectares into Galicia and North West Spain, with 70 hectares situated on the estate itself. 2019 was a drier vintage than normal, so careful use of oak was important. The addition of concrete helped for the freshness of the wines. Intensely complex, concentrated and juicy, it's full of ripe plum and tart black cherry aromas, which are complemented by cocoa powder and a creamy weight to the mouthfeel.


Location images courtesy of Ribera del Duero UK.