Mission Codename Existential
Must ask. Where else in the world can you get a full-throttle 94-pointer red for 22 bucks from?
Master of Wine Tim Atkin knows: “I’ve been visiting Ribera del Duero since the late 1980s… it’s one of the wine world’s most remarkable success stories.”
If we could channel our inner Keats or Byron, we might come close to expressing how good this wine is in words.
Some of you had Viyuela’s Black Label Reserva. In that case, you have a reference point for the QPR ratio. This Crianza, frankly, is even more pleasurable to drink and a more compelling bargain. C’mon, how often does a deal this good comes across your inbox?
Wine & Spirits defines Viyuela’s style well: “Long-time residents of Boada de Roa (in Burgos), the Viyuela family built their winery in 2002 to create a business out of their experience as grape growers and winemakers. All of their grapes come from the family’s vineyards surrounding the town, the vines ranging from 40-50 years old and providing wines with beautiful fruit depth.”
Tim Atkin adds “Given the prestige and the fame of its top wines, most notably Pingus and Vega Sicilia, it’s easy to forget that Ribera del Duero is a young DO, established in 1982… the region may be young, but many of its best vineyards are more than 50 years old… Ribera has changed a lot in the last decade and will continue to evolve.”
And evolve it has. Still, insane values like this can be found despite the likes of Vega Sicilia and Pingus, as Tim points out, elevating the process to the stratosphere.
SOARING aromatics come straight out the bottle, with plum notes around cassis and blackberry, along with freshly cracked black pepper, toasted herbs, sweet vanilla, and violets. The palate is fresh, ripe, and lively with juicy acidity, underpinning sweet tannins and gentle oak spices. World-class juice that sits somewhere hypothetically between a classic Napa red and a Right Bank Bordeaux, yet with a uniquely Spanish flare. With RIBS, be it pork, beef, or lamb, or anything else on the grill really, this will please immensely. Given what we have it for, it’s a no-regrets, drink-every-day kind of red.
The value here is straight off the meter. Get enough to make this your go-to red for the fall and winter feasts and festivities ahead, and beyond…
94 Points – Wine & Spirits
“Luscious flavors sustained without weight. Berkshire chef Amy Loveless found the wine’s rose petal scent had ‘the floral quality of really good unsweetened chocolate.’ The earthy detail of the fruit lends the wine sophistication, fresh enough to sustain a long battle with the oak tannins, which amplify the wine’s substantial feel even as it remains jewel-like at its core.”
What the Winery Says
2017 White Label Crianza Ribera del Duero
- Javier Martinez
- 100% Tempranillo
- Ribera del Duero, Spain
- Sandy silt, clay, limestone, marl, chalk
- Vine age
- 20+ years old
- 940 meters above sea level
- Total acidity
- 6.7 g/L
- Residual sugar
- 1.5 g/L
- 16 months in oak + 12 months in bottle
- 100% new French oak