Each year in Ribera del Duero, we expect the best out of our Tempranillo grapes, but this year was exceptionally good. As I picked the grapes and place them into the basket, I kept eating the grapes. After a day of doing this, my lips and hands were purple – a labor of love I say.
Israel, my partner in crime did not participate in Harvest, but he sure did capture this on video and had enough wine to swell his belly for a week.
(video is both in Spanish and English)
If you do watch the video, we would love to hear from you, leave a comment below:
There is a reason Rioja, Spain has dominated Spain’s love for wine. It’s the one religion that treats wine like water. In fact, it’s more expensive to order bottled water or Coke-a-Cola then a glass of red wine? Yes, believe it, if only this would apply in the US, I’d be one happier and wealthier gal.
Not all of Rioja is created equally. This region is split into three parts: Rioja Baja, Rioja Alta, and Rioja Alavesa. You don’t need to ask my twice, my favorite sub region in Rioja is Alavesa. This hidden gem is something I hope never becomes exploited as its micro-climates make the wines spectacular and out of character with what most understand or believe Rioja to be.
Today’s, spring visit to Rioja consisted of a visit to a very small intimate visit to a 6 generations wine makers in the middle of nowhere. We stopped in to enjoy several glasses of wine. From their newly planted white wine to their 60 year-old vine red wine, I’m lucky to have my own private showing of the vineyard and partake in the family rituals of breaking bread and drinking wine.
My favorite part of living and traveling through Spain’s wine regions, is the seeds that I plant with my wonderful Spanish people once we uncork a bottle of wine. Each bottle tells a story and I listen to what it has to say. I ask myself in each of my travels, how lucky am I to drink, socialize, and export wine for a living? The answer is simple, Very lucky!
Grape picking season 2013 has ended and it was a difficult year in Toro. Northern Spain had plenty of everything this season. Between the hail and rain, the grapes were put to the test and the best of the best survived. I have a very good feeling about this 2013 vintage of Tinta de Toro.
Most will argue that this year was not one of the best, and climatically speaking, this is true. I’ll argue and even bet how great this vintage will be in the future. Like most outstanding wine vintages, the season dictates how the grapes develop and more importantly, how good the wine will turn out. With the right combination of warmth, sun, and water, grapes will shine and tell a great story in the bottle.
I’ve discovered along the way that it’s the harsh seasons that builds character and robustness in grapes, allowing for even better grape evolution and developed tastes way after the season has ended. Ten years from now, I’d like to believe the Gran Reserva I’ve bottled this year will tell us how great of a year 2013 really was!
Some great wines from Toro D.O.
– San Roman
All my wine travels have a great story and end with a wonderful glass of wine. Quite honestly, southeastern Spain was not on my top places to visit this past winter, but somehow Bacchus, the wine god, made it part of my plans, only to end up providing me with a seductive glass of wine.
Let me share some of the basic characteristics of Jumilla. This region is highly known for more sunshine than rain, reporting approximately 3,000 hours of sunshine annually and an average rainfall that does not exceed 12 inches per year, resulting in some poor inorganic limestone soils. I can personally attest to the warm days and cool nights. I’ll take winter in Jumilla any day over Chicago’s brutal winter.
So what kind of grape is produced in this sunny part of Spain? The predominate grape varietal is Monastrell as it represents approximately 85% of the vines planted. Although this grape can be found in all parts of Spain, it’s abundant and at home along the Mediterranean coast. This special grape varietal is robust enough to survive and thrive under the long summer sun hours. As we drove into Jumilla country, I had Edu pull over so I take a look at the aired soil I’ve heard so much about. Although winter had just started and I saw nothing but naked grape bushes, I was still able to take in the landscape and soil that adds character to the grape.
Even after years of spending time in the wine country of northern Spain, I continue to visit Ribera del Duero and fall in love with it every time. This spring was a bit different as I took an unexpected road trip to Ribera del Duero with some very special wine experts. The wine universe put one of Spain’s top leading wine critics in my path: Mr. Andres Proesnsa. I consider him to be the Robert Parker of the Spanish wine world, and although some may argue this, he is no doubt an expert on Spanish wines.
My divine experience with Mr. Proesna was unforgettable… we broke bread together, enjoyed wine, and talked shop. Oh, did I mention the 50+ wines we tasted during an intense 2 hour period? I couldn’t have dreamt up anything better than this experience. Honestly speaking, I found it funny how, in the middle of our conversation, we both smiled at each other and saw nothing but purple…. You know life is good when you share purple lips and teeth.
I just can’t contain myself when I find great “Every Day” wines for a bargain!
1. Category: Vibrant
2. Wine Type: Blend Tempranillo (80%), Granacha (5%), Mazuelo (5%) and Graciano
3. Country: Rioja, Spain
4. Price: $6.99
5. Notes: Yet another find that has Rioja written all over it. This blend called Antaño has plenty of character without the attitude. You’ll find vibrant rich black cherry flavors finished with vanilla notes with every sip. Can be enjoyed with pasta or chicken dish. At $6.99a bottle, I’m keeping a few in my stash.