Sometimes a wine seems a bit more mysterious than it actually is. I selected this week’s bottle because I’d never heard of anything on the front label, and I figured it’d be fun to research and interesting to taste. Turns out this week’s wine is named after its home region, much like Bordeaux or Burgundy. Ribera del Duero is a winemaking region just north of the center of Spain.
This particular Ribera del Duero is a 100 percent temperanillo. We’ve written about the grape before, so we don’t get any credit for novelty here. The wine will have to prove itself on merit instead…
How does it look? The Ribera del Duero is a dark, yet bright ruby red. It’s fairly translucent, seems to be light-bodied, and leaves fairly thick legs, leaving me to expect something fruit-forward and sweet.
How does it smell? This temperanillo smells of fruit as bright as its color — red berries, cherries, ripe plums. I notice a bit of a floral aroma on the finish as well, but not much tannin or alcohol. The wine is aged in American oak, but I don’t get any of that on the nose either.
But how does it taste? It’s mostly sweeter than I expected, with plum and blueberry flavors offset by just a bit of herbal astringent flavor — sort of like rosemary or basil, if you forgot to wash off the dirt from the garden. The wine sneaks up on you a bit, with a sweet approach but a puckering, palate-cleansing finish. You will have to try very hard to find the oak in this wine, but I’m sure the time spent barrel-aging helped to mellow the flavors and develop some of the secondary notes that keep this from being a one-note glass.
What should I eat with it? The label suggests beefsteak, and with the kick that finishes this wine, I’d say they might be right, but I’d definitely suggest a leaner cut. Better yet, some sort of a spicy steak dish (or pork) would pair well with both the opening sweetness and the finishing touches of this wine.