The fun continues as Uncorked follows K&L staff member Sarah Covey in her adventures touring and tasting in Ribera del Duero...
Our first appointment of the day took us to the Consejo building in Roa, where the technical director of the Consejo, Agustin Alonso Gonzalez, gave us a wonderful lecture on the history of Ribera Del Duero as a region, with facts and figures about the D.O. Afterwards we met with 15 producers seeking representation in the United States. The wineries were allowed to show one wine, and many chose to feature their Crianza from 2009. 2009 was a great vintage in Ribera, and this allowed us to have a very clear picture of the vintage as well as a variety of winemaking styles. A delightful rooftop lunch followed, with many delicacies from the region, but queso was a large feature, as the region is also well-known for their sheep and goat cheeses. Hooray for cheese! I only got through about half of the table...
Our first winery appointment was at Bodegas Rodero, in Pedrosa de Duero, Burgos. Carmelo Rodero and his daughter, winemaker Beatriz Rodero, run an operation of innovation. Carmelo invented a piece of equipment that allows their platform above the stainless steel tanks to rotate around the tops of the tanks for easier access. He is very concerned about the ease and well-being of work for his employees. He also stores his barrels in barrel rooms with dim lighting and plays a loop of Benedictine chants for the wines, as he believes that a relaxed environment will help the wines age more gracefully!
From there we went to Vizcarra. JC Vizcarra runs another family operation in another part of Burgos- Mambrilla de Castrejon. His wines are all organic and biodynamic, believing that by treating the land and wines as holistically as possible, you will end up with the best possible products. In his town, people used to store their wines in underground cellars, accessible at street level by gated doorways. Most are now abandoned, but the entire town has these ghostly entrances along the road.
Bodegas Hermanos Perez Pascuas- Vina Pedrosa in was our last stop for the day. After a brief tour of their production area and cellars we learned that one of the past vintages of Vina Pedrosa had been used in the Christmas mass at the Vatican! Pretty neat in terms of putting Ribera Del Duero on the map. The winery then tasted us on their new releases, threw us a huge BBQ, complete with a singing chef, grilled baby lamb, and multiple older vintages of their wines. We met all three of the original brothers Perez, in their 80+ year old glory. The full moon over the vines completed the night. We giggled all the way back to the hotel.
Amazingly, that was just the first official day. Stay tuned for more!
In the mean time, consider unwinding with a plate of aged sheep's cheese and a bottle of the 2009 Vizcarra Ramos Roble, in stock now for only $17.99!
90 points Robert Parker: "The 2009 Roble was aged for 7 months in seasoned French and American oak. Purple-colored, it gives up a first-class perfume of mineral, Asian spices, violets, and lightly roasted black fruits. This is followed by a succulent, full-flavored, voluminous wine with excellent balance and a long, fruit-filled finish. It is an outstanding value that over-delivers in a big way as well as a sneak preview of just how good the top wines from Ribera del Duero will be when released 2-3 years from now."
Sarah C. Covey
Wine Sales Professional
K&L Wine Merchants - Redwood City