Wine Hotline Hits the Road: Ribera del Duero
A small group from Binnys visited Spain's Ribera del Duero. Bill Newton reports from the road:
Spain's Ribera del Duero is beautiful and rustic. On one hand, the region is home to world-class wine producers such as Vega Sicilia, Pingus and Pesquera. On the other hand, nobody acted surprised when a herd of sheep blocked traffic to cross the road. The guys at Vega Sicilia don't leave room for surprises. They want complete control over every aspect of their wine making process, including making and toasting all of the barrels used at the winery at their own on-site cooperage. Coopers everywhere char the insides of their barrels, determining the flavors that barrels instill in the wines they hold (just like with spirits, or even beer).
These stressed vines in the vineyard were interesting. The climate in Ribera del Duero can be incredibly arid and hostile. The vineyard that holds these vines, for example, produced less than a barrel of wine in total last vintage. This year, they're hoping for more. Some vines in the region have been around since the 1800's. They are gnarly old vines indeed.
The picture below was taken from the Ribera del Duero wine headquarters. Where are you going, sheep?