We weren’t looking to add another Ribera del Duero producer to our portfolio, but when one of the few that is actually older than Valduero came knocking, we couldn’t pass it up. The brothers Benjamin, Manuel and Adolfo Perez Pascuas established the winery in 1980, but their father Mauro actually planted grapes well before that. So, you have a well established family business dedicated to top quality wines from all estate grapes featuring older vines. Don’t forget one of the key quality factors in Ribera del Duero – at 2624 feet above sea level, these vines benefit from the wide range in evening and day time temperatures which preserve the acidity and hence freshness of the wines.
100% Tempranillo. La Navilla comes from a single, eponymous, south-facing vineyard, the highest in the estate, where the vines average 35-40 years old. It is aged, uniquely, for 20 months in exclusively French oak. Fresh berries ooze from the glass, and the deep color suggests an altogether different wine from the others, but reassurance comes when the jamminess is cut by fresh, bright acidity in the finish.
The estate’s flagship vineyard has a remarkable propensity for delivering over-performing yet understated wines year-in, year-out. Meaty and fresh, with a signature saltiness to season the flesh. Perhaps it is the memory of the extravagant banquets of Cordero grilled over vine cuttings that the family customarily offers its visitors which evokes these carnal associations, but there was never a better wine created for lamb than this.
(100% Tempranillo) Fruity and pretty, yes, but this entry level wine demands much more attention for its mix of richness and elegance than it’s relatively modest price would suggest. Serious juice from serious people.