When I first started buying Spanish wine it was very much like having some kind of collector’s fetish. Hunt around for the wines, hear something about a new import and spend weeks trying to find out where to get it Word of mouth was king. These day’s I’m almost falling over Spanish wines in booze shops, bars and restaurants, you can read about them in local papers and plenty of blogs and I have even heard people talking about Rioja on the train once. Things have definitely moved on. One big change has been in the supermarket chains. You can now find a decent range of wines from all over Spain (and Portugal too) in both Vintage Cellars and Dan Murhpy’s stores. The old token range of big house swill is mostly gone and you can find some quality wines at reasonable prices. And they have gone to some length to get it right: they’ve hired some very smart and experienced chaps to find the wines, either through established importers (as this wine is) or importing them direct. Of course, the supermarkets haven’t been the kindest to many wine brands over the years and there is still a big gap between the good independant retailers and the chain stores in terms of service and range (and price in many cases), but that’s not the point. The point is this: most Spanish and Portuguese wine is sold in restaurants and bars in Australia. What this does do is to bring these wines out of the wine geek’s realm and more into the mainstream wine drinker’s. This can only be a good thing.
Anyway, I picked this up at Dan Murphy’s on Friday night, rather surprised to see it there. After all, this is a fairly small family run bodega that gets a bit of press every now and then. I’ve had their Reserva in Spain a couple of times, now that its available here it’s well work tracking down if Ribera is your thing. The short story on this one is that’s Tempranillo grown in lime rich soils in northern part (towards Burgos) of Ribera del Duero, that gets a quick dunk in french and american oak for 4 months (hence the name)…Imported by Bibendum.
A bit stinky on opening, but this cleans up in a minute or two to reveal a nose of tar and spice, salami, sweet cherry and a little funky mulberry. Very slick in the mouth, smooth with buscuit crumb tannins but that acid drive things along nicely. Deeply flavoured, juicy fruit as you’d expect from Ribera del Duero, with cola, minerals, clove and sage. Lip smackingly good, grab a rack of lamb for the BBQ and a bottle of this for a nice sunday lunch. Drink now and over the next 5 years. 90 Pts
Source: Dan Murphy’s Price: $31 Closure: Conventional Cork