Assuming that it will in fact get cool again in Central Virginia in the near future (90+ degree days in October aside) it's a good time to check in on some wine options that will be well appreciated for their rich and hearty character. While the Rioja region is Spain tends to show the more elegant Old World influence for their Tempranillo based wines, the Ribera del Duero has more of a bold and brash style that's definitely more modern and New World influenced. At almost every stage of creation for the wines, from vineyard to winery and to the shelf, the mindsets are different, and the resulting wines almost don't taste like they have a grape in common. Where Rioja tends to have more in common with Bordeaux or maybe Tuscan wines, Ribera del Duero shares more with Californian or Washington Cabs, or even Malbecs from Argentina.The richness in texture, dark color, and tendency to use more American oak for aging the wines definitely leave an imprint. Arrocal is consistently one of our favorite sources from the Duero for what they deliver for the money, never over the top in style but still showing all the great hallmarks of the region.
Deep and inky purple in the glass, the nose is loaded with almost sweet black fruits and spices with just a touch of toasty vanilla from the oak (only 8 months total, with no new oak used). Often the tendency is to use more new oak in a shorter period, but the rich wine doesn't need the help here, and oak would only take away from the immediate pleasure. The palate is as deep and dense as the color in the glass, with lots of currant and blackberry completely coating the mouth, seeming heavy at first but quickly showing the fine natural tannins and even some balancing lift of acidity. This is a big wine, but not a plodding monster, with lots of subtlety that emerges as the wine opens up and never feels chunky or overwhelming. Definitely a wine that warms the soul along with a hearty meal.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!