Ribera Del Duero wine grapes

Ribera Del Duero has been producing wine for thousands of years. But, in just the last 40 to 50 years, the region has blossomed into a powerful wine producer boasting exceptional quality, views, and weather. Whether you’re planning a trip to Ribera Del Duero, or simply curious to learn more about this historic region and the wines produced there, you’ve come to the right place. You’ll find everything you need to know in our Ribera Del Duero Wine Guide. 

What is Ribera Del Duero? 

Let’s start with the basics. Ribera Del Duero is a Spanish Denomination of Origin (DO), located approximately two and a half hours north of Madrid. The region is flat, rocky, and approximately 2500 feet above sea level. Soil structure is well suited to wine production, and the height above sea level creates a greater contrast in daily temperature highs and lows, which also assists with grape production quality. These factors combine to make Ribera Del Duero one of, if not the, premier viticulture region in Spain. 

While the region is currently home to more than 250 wineries, it’s actually a somewhat young wine region that catapulted into mainstream view in the 1980s and wasn’t even recognized as a DO until 1982. This is not to say that wine was never produced in the region; wine has been produced here for thousands of years. However, it reached new levels of quality, productivity, and notoriety in the 1980s.  While the region is “new” to wine enthusiasts, it’s rich in history featuring historic castles, town squares, and other exceptional forms of architecture. 

What is Ribera Del Duero Wine? 

As you might expect, Ribera Del Duero wine is any wine produced in the region, meets all standards and regulations, and is verified to have been produced in the region. The region is almost entirely devoted to red wine, one varietal in particular. Tempranillo makes up the vast majority of the grapes grown in Ribera Del Duero, making up 95% of the hectares planted in the region. 

What is Tempranillo? 

Given that such a high percentage of the grapes grown in this region are Tempranillo, “Ribera Del Duero wine” is practically synonymous with the name of this grape varietal. Tempranillo grapes are thick-skinned and hearty, leaving them well suited to the extremely dry climate and relatively extreme temperatures found in the region. 

Tempranillo Wines tend to be full-bodied and complex, combining fruit-forward flavors with earth and spice notes. Common tasting notes include cherry, fig, strawberry, tobacco, minerals, and cedar. They’re generally high in tannins, acidity, and alcohol content and are frequently aged in either French or American Oak. Additionally, they are well known for aging well over substantial amounts of time, whether years or even decades. 

Ribera Del Duero Wine Classifications

In addition to being designated as a wine from Ribera Del Duero, these wines are also separated by their aging process to offer wine enthusiasts a better understanding of what they are purchasing. Whether you are visiting in person or buying Ribera Del Duero online, you might see these terms on the label. We’ve highlighted these terms and what they mean below. 

  • Cosecha wines spend little if any time in the barrel but meet all other minimum requirements. 
  • Crianza indicates aging for at least 24 months with a minimum of 12 months in an oak barrel.
  • Reserva wines are aged at least 36 months, with at least 12 of those months in barrel.
  • Gran Reserva wines are at least five years old, two years of which must be spent in a barrel.

Tempranillo Tasting Notes 

Tempranillo’s full body and savory qualities make it an easy wine to pair food with, as it has the flavor profile to match and compliment even the most flavorful dishes. Pastas, pizzas, and lasagnas all pair exceptionally well with Tempranillo. Steaks, chops, roasts, and red meats also pair well, though lighter meats run the risk of being overpowered by the wine throughout the meal. Mexican and Moroccan cuisine are also all great options to pair with Tempranillo wines. 

Where to Buy Ribera Del Duero Wine 

You don’t have to cross the Atlantic to enjoy a glass of Ribera Del Duero Tempranillo. We carry an excellent selection of wine from this famous Spanish region, including bottles for every budget. Visit our selection to find your new favorite Ribera Del Duero wine