$12 Ribera del Duero, 100 Year Old Vines. Yes, Really!!!
Posted on: 07/27/18 12:01 PM
Sometimes these offers are simple. So many great wines speak for themselves. Today I’m offering something that in many ways needs a little bit more context to understand just how special it is, so I’d really like to encourage you to keep reading below the line.
If you want the short version though- this is artisanal, family made Ribera del Duero, from vines a century old for a quite ridiculous $12. You need to buy as much of this as you have space for, and you need to do it quickly. This vintage (which I think is so good for the money that its almost beyond belief), hasn’t been reviewed yet but multiple writers have written about what astonishing value this is in the past, as below.
“A sensational value” Robert Parker
“Amazing effort…outstanding value” Jay Miller
2016 Torremorón Tinto, Ribera del Duero
Brilliant ruby. Assertive aromas of candied dark berries and dark chocolate, with slow-building smokiness. On the palate, gently sweet cherry, blackberry and licorice flavors are complemented by notes of floral pastilles and bitter chocolate. Finishes smoky and long, with smooth tannins adding shape and gentle grip. This wine saw no oak at all and was aged in stainless steel tanks for three months. 90 pts., (2014 vintage) Josh Raynolds, Vinous
More about the wine:
In April I spent a wonderful ten days travelling through Spain and Portugal looking for new wines for us to offer. Trips like this are great fun and a tremendous privilege, but hard work at the same time. Multiple wineries, hours on a coach, and fifty plus tasting notes written, all on a single day.
The very last trip of all was to a winery that honestly took my breath away. In a remote and high altitude spot in the north of the prestigious region of Ribera del Duero, we came to what is usually described as the ‘village’ of Quintanamanvirgo. To be honest, even describing it as a village is overstating it a bit. I’d been told that the population was 94, but when I asked someone there if this was correct, they corrected me and told me that actually it was 92 as a couple of people had left recently. I also asked the winemaker Fernando Gubia how long his family had been there, and he simply shrugged and said ‘always’. The idea of ever having been anywhere else seemed bizarre and almost laughable.
Every single one of the 92 residents work for the winery, which essentially runs us a co-operative of the various families involved, and a few of them in their spare time run Quintanamanvirgo’s only other commercial operation, a bar. That’s my kind of village.
Beyond the remarkable atmosphere here in general, the most stunning thing here are the vines. These are some of the most astonishing that I’ve ever seen. 100% Tempranillo planted between 1914 and 1934, they show every single day of their century of age. We always include pictures in these offers but here I’d really implore you to take a good look at the ones that I snapped of them with my phone. Big, grizzled, gnarly- they are outrageously beautiful and have a visible life and character of their own.
Of course, the important thing I haven’t even touched on here is the wine. We drank this outside in the sun, eating barbequed milk fed lamb, and you won’t be surprised that in that context it was mind blowingly good. I’m very aware of the role that context plays in the enjoyment of wine, so I made extra care to get hold of a bottle Stateside and share it with my colleagues. I didn’t tell people the price before they tasted, and the shock on their faces when I told them told me that my confidence in this wasn’t miss-placed. As Ribera’s go this is a gentle beauty. It sees no oak at all and the pleasure is all the absolutely gorgeous intensity and purity of the red fruit. It is not a wine that needs years of maturity, it is a wine that has been perfected over generations by one incredible group of villagers, made to be drunk often and with gusto. You could not possibly find a better party wine, whether your friends are wine lovers or not.
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