Ribera del Duero, Spain

  • Wednesday, Day 27/01/2021
  • Ribera del Duero is an important wine region in Castilla y Leon, northern Spain. Its reputation is largely thanks to the high-quality of its red wines made mainly from Tempranillo grapes. The best examples are renowned throughout the wine world.

    Ribera del Duero is located on the elevated northern plateau of the Iberian Peninsula at 800 meters (2800ft) above sea level. Ribera del Duero means "bank of the Duero", and the river indeed divides the region. It also provides the local vineyards with a much-needed water supply. The river also provides neighboring Portugal with its premier wine region as it changes its name to Douro and flows through the eponymous valley, the home of Port and Portugal's best red table wines.

    Ribera del Duero was not awarded DO status until 1982. Today, Ribera del Duero is almost entirely devoted to red wine. Tempranillo is the most widely planted grape variety, known locally either as Tinto Fino or Tinta del Pais. It produces wines that are deeply colored, with a firm tannin structure and complex aromas of dark fruit. Most of the top examples age gracefully for years.

    According to DO regulations, Tempranillo must make up a minimum of 75 percent of all Vinos tintos (red wines). The balance is usually made up mostly of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. These are all varieties that were introduced by Vega Sicilia more than a century ago. Up to five percent of Albillo or Garnacha is also permitted.

    Garnacha is used for most rosé wines. Albillo is the only white grape with vines planted in Ribera del Duero. It produces wines for local consumption that don't qualify for the Ribera del Duero DO title. It can also be used in tiny quantities as a softener for heavy reds.

    The aging requirements used for Ribera del Duero match those of the Rioja denomination.

    Designation

    Red Wines

    White and Rosé Wines

    Minimum total aging (months)

    Minimum time spent in barrel (months)

    Minimum total aging (months)

    Minimum time spent in barrel (months)

    Joven

    0

    0

    0

    0

    Crianza

    24

    12

    12

    6

    Reserva

    36

    12

    36

    6

    Gran Reserva

    60

    24

    48

    6