Although Ribera del Duero is now well established in international markets, one forgets how comparatively new the DO is – the Valduero estate, established in 1984, was only the sixth in the appellation at the time! During the intervening 25 years, they have built up an impressive resume as a winery offering quality and value from grapes sourced from their 200 hectares of bush-trained, low yielding vineyards. The sisters Yolanda and Caroline García, daughters of founder Gregorio García Alvarez, run an impressive operation that goes from strength to strength.
Valduero’s vineyards are amongst the highest in the D.O., with several resultant benefits. The grapes hang longer while retaining their acidity and without developing excessive alcohol. This Reserva is aged largely in French oak, with a smattering from eastern Europe thrown in. It is lithe and persistent, with a palpable saltiness in the finish. Very much built for the long haul.
A veritable puppy dog of a wine, this practically rolls over in the glass to show its eagerness to please with its sheer deliciousness. Crunchy berry fruit, lovely oak integration, surprising power and seamless texture all contribute to its charm, without the appearance of trying too hard.
(100% Tinta de Toro) Produced from vineyards owned by their winemaker, this is Toro as seen through Ribera del Duero eyes – exuberant and fruity, deliberately lower in alcohol than most in the market (i.e. under 14%), raspberry-scented and thoroughly engaging.
This, the solitary white wine that they produce, is a head-turner. The Albillo is an autochthonous variety that renders a golden-hued, fullish dry white with a startlingly floral aroma not unlike Viognier. This is the sixth vintage we have imported of a unique wine that has developed a devoted following in California.