7 Best Wines From Spain’s Ribera del Duero – Robb Report

In Spain rules for classifying wine have been codified since 1982, with the lower run of the designation labeled cosechas, which are inexpensive wines aged fewer than three months. For the longest time, these bottles weren’t synonymous with quality, unlike the reserva and gran reserva wines. But a collection of winemakers have felt the rules for upper-echelon wines were getting to restrictive, so they started experimenting with high-quality bottlings and just labeled the cosechas, which has turned the system on its head. The wines have won great acclaim internationally where drinkers are less attached to Spains’ decades-old designations. Now the low-priced cosechas of old sit side-by-side with high quality cousins on store shelves around the world.

How, beyond the price tag, can you tell the difference between cosechas selling for $10 and $100? First, check the year: If the wine is from 2021 or ’22, it’s probably a standard cosecha. If it’s an expensive new release from 2019 or earlier, it’s more likely modern and high-end. 

Then, check the larger back label (above the consejo sticker), which should offer information such as vineyard site, production method, and number of bottles made. Terms such as “aged in concrete” or “aged in foudres” are a sign that you’re holding a nontraditional vintage. And in general, the fewer bottles there are, the more special it is. 

While you are unlikely to encounter chuleton de buey outside Spain, the modern-style Ribera del Duero wines below are perfect with a tomahawk steak or porterhouse. Here are seven bottles you should pursue.

Arzuaga 2017 Amaya

Arzuaga 2017 Amaya

Courtesy of Arzuaga

A silky texture enhanced by flavors of black cherry, cassis, anisette, espresso, and lavender, with a bright finish

Buy Now: $115

Dominio de Calogia 2019

Dominio de Calogia 2019

Courtesy of Dominio de Calogia

Smooth on the palate with terrific acidity, notes of red and dark berries, crème brûlée, clove, and lavender.

Buy Now: $84

Félix Callejo 2019 Suelos de Caliza

Félix Cellejo 2019 Suelos de Caliza

Courtesy of Félix Cellejo

Forceful tannins play host to pomegranate, raspberry, clove, nutmeg, and holiday-baking-spice flavors with a rose-petal finish.

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Dominio de Atauta 2016 La Roza

Dominio de Atauta 2016 La Roza

Courtesy of Dominio de Atauta

Full-bodied on impact but softens quickly. A gorgeous balance of fruit, spice, and dried-herb flavors, with lingering vanilla-custard notes. 

Buy Now: $213

Pago de Los Capellanes 2018 Parcela el Picon

Pago de Los Capellanes 2018 Parcela el Picon

Courtesy of Pago de Los Capellanes

Juicy on entry, with cherry, strawberry, coffee, and chocolate flavors, luxurious tannins, and a rose-petal finish

Buy Now: $147

Viña Sastre 2016 Pesus

Viña Sastre 2016 Pesus

Courtesy of Viña Sastre

Powerful in the mouth, with black cherry, anise, milk chocolate, and violet flavors wrapped in opulent tannins

Buy Now: $336

Vega Sicilia 2018 Valbuena 5°

Courtesy of Vega Sicilia

Fresh at first sip, opening to reveal beautiful structure, polished tannins, and flavors of cherry, black currant, and Mission fig, with a dusting of baking spice

Buy Now: $240

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