Ribera del Duero, one of the most important region for Tempranillo in Spain, is located to the southwest of Rioja. Here, they call the grape "Tinto Fino." This warmer, drier region of the country boasts a resulting style that, coupled with judicious use of oak, is bolder, more ripe, and often more extracted than the earthy, herbaceous fruit of Rioja.
The benchmark producer for this region is an estate called Vega Sicilia, established in 1864, and Aalto follows in that heritage. It was founded in 1999 by Mariano Garcia, who made wine for Vega Sicilia for 30 years. He now oversees the winemaking of the Aalto Tempranillo, which has shown consistently high quality since its inception.
Pairings: Lasagna, dishes with tomato-based sauces, Barbecue grilled-meats, smoky dishes, dishes with corn as a major ingredient, mexican food
Ribera wines underscore the purest expression of Tempranillo, Spain’s most well grape; big, bold and textured, but with plenty of rich, old-world sensibility. The region is home to some of Spain’s most sought after and applauded wines. Riberas are crafted to age, developing complexity over time, yet balancing acidity and generous fruit, they’re unequivocally food-friendly wines to drink young. The spices, dark fruit and smoky flavors of Ribera enhance anything off the grill, roasted meats, and rich pastas. Ribera del Duero wines can best be compared to Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley thanks to those rich and bold flavors, but tend to be more refined and Old World in style, more balance and less overpowering oak.
Designation of Origin (D.O.) Ribera del Duero is located in Castilla y León, roughly 2 hours north of Madrid. Before achieving D.O. status in 1982, growers sold grapes to co-ops and wine was sold in bulk. A small group of local growers saw potential for the area and applied for D.O. recognition. The rest is history, and Ribera del Duero remains a relatively young appellation to have such prestige in the wine world
The vineyards of Ribera del Duero stretch intermittently for over 70 miles along the River Duero. These sprawling lands feature a mix of different soils, exposures and elevations – some as high as a half-mile above sea level. The semi-arid terrain, ample amounts of sunlight and extreme temperature swings from day to night — sometimes a 50-plus degree difference — create optimal ripening conditions for the Tempranillo grapes that define Ribera del Duero wines distinctive character.