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Ribera del Duero Wineries Tasting

Today we were at Legacy Liquor’s new tasting lounge, located adjacent to their Olympic village liquor store.

Ticket holders were gathered to learn more about three of the best-known Ribera del Duero Wineries from Spain, all featuring Tempranillo grapes.

This was an intimate class where guests would get a chance to study these wines through their philosophies and how it each comes to life based on the soil, the climate, and the orientation of the vineyards. A process that would climax at the tasting of each wine and trying to detonate its personality through the unique process the region’s Tempranillo grapes are treated.

Our presenter was Eduardo Ruiz, an Export Manger with more of 15 years of experience in the wine industry. Hailing from and representing different top wineries in Spain. The perfect speaker to help make our experience all the more authentic.

He would give a brief history of each label expanding on their goals as wine makers and how it shines through in the bottle. One of my take aways is that in Spain there is a different name for the same grape, depending on where they are cultivated. And it is the grape’s thick skin that gives the wine its deep red colour.

Our tasting began with the 2022 Arzuaga Rosae made from 100% Tempranillo grapes for a fruity and fresh bouquet. For this the wine producers ensured that they got the grape quickly to the winer, where it engaged in smooth and slow crushing. With minimal skin contact, under 8 hours, the grapes earned their pale colour. They are then aged in stainless tanks giving it a very crisp finish. We tasted notes of red fruit and strawberry, and the wine had a very creamy mouth-feel from the grape itself.

This rose above and the white to follow are currently not available in the Canadian market, and was but a teaser to help round our the session. Ribera del Duero Wineries are currently only launching their reds, as an introduction to the wineries, the region, and the Tempranillo grape. The desire is to focus on what the area is known for, wow them, then bring in the others. Therefore this was just a sliver of the spectrum that what theses Spanish winery offer. And best of all they were only bottled a few months ago, so we were some of the first in Canada, BC, and Vancouver to try these.

The 2021 Fand.oro Chardonnay was created for the love of the grape, for those too who enjoy the natural tartness of Chardonnay. Grown in high elevation where it thrives, the farmers are able to focus on quality grapes to add to their wine. Only a few wineries in the area are actually doing a Chardonnay, and their North oriented process and smaller operations adds favour to this. The 2021 Chardonnay was fresh and earthy with a balanced mouth-feel. Aged 9 months in 100% new oak, it is not watery or oily. With its fruity nose, it is a great one to pair with food.

Moving on to reds, the Florentino Tempranillo is a big red that pairs well with food; much like the other reds that would grow progressively bolder as we moved along in this tasting. There are only 20 vineyards in Spain under this appellation, and it has an oasis within this arena. The wine is aged 12 months in French-American oak resulting in maple on the nose, the flavour of ripe fruit with peppery notes and a slight mineralogy.

Our second red is from La Planta, which is the name of the state where the family started their winery. Here, the wine uses 100% Tempranillo grapes for a vibrant and bright fruity finish furthered by 6 months in oak that is 50% French and 50% American. This wine was created as an approachable red with the essence of raspberry and strawberry. A more youthful wine with expressive acidity. Its recommended pairing is with heavier fish.

Our third red uses the same Tempranillo grape, but the result is so different when given a longer time in oak and a little blending. The make up of this one is 95% Tempranillo, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Although a richer blend, the wine is not heavy or hard. It is still easy to drink and economic in pricing, which well represents the essence of the grape and the 3 defining characteristics the winery strives for: Elegance, Balance, and Freshness. Gaging the room, this was everyone’s favourite. It was recommended to be paired with meat and lamb, and the one to either drink now or cellar for later.

Our fourth red was an inky and dark 2017 blend of 95% Tempranillo, 2.5% Merlot, and
2.5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in new French oak giving it a vanilla essence. This was the fullest bodied wine of all that we tried. It was tangy on the tongue and I could be see it being overpowering. This is one I would enjoy as a glass on its own.

In short, this was a great intimate setting to get to learn more about Tempranillo grapes and to discover Spanish wines that just hit the market. If you get a chance to do such a session in this new workspace, I would recommend it!

Taste of Legacy
Legacy Liquor Store
1637 Manitoba Street
, Vancouver BC

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