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Ribera del Duero, Spain

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One of eleven ‘quality wine regions’ within Castilla y León (an autonomous community in North Western Spain), Ribera del Duero holds significant prestige throughout the wine world. Evidence of wine-making goes back at least two thousand years, as seen in ancient mosaics and artwork. The region finally became a Denominación de Origen (DO) in 21st July, 1982. In 2012, it became ‘Wine Region of the Year’ according to Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Ribera del Duero has moderate to low rainfall (450mm/year) and is exposed to fairly extreme climatic conditions. Long, dry summers can reach temperatures of up to 40°C, meanwhile winters are intense with temperatures coming close to freezing. Beyond this, there are daily temperature swings—hot, dry days going into frigid nights—even as the region is all-throughout bathed in plentiful sunlight (over 2,400 hours annually). These unique and demanding conditions impart full-bodied, balanced flavours into grapes ripened in the region; particularly Tempranillo.

Wines produced in Ribera del Duero derive almost exclusively from the black Tempranillo grapes (also called ‘Tinto Fino’ by locals referring to their own fruits). These thick-skinnned grapes hold a relatively neutral flavour profile, making them quite versatile. Wines derived from Tempranillo lend themselves to to wide ranges of food pairings, including savoury vegetables and meats, smokey dishes, corn dishes, pasta with tomato-based sauces, spicy Indian foods and curries, savoury Christmas pastelles, as well as spicy South American dishes such as tacos and chillies.

Photograph by Helena Espinosa via Used through a Creative Commons licence.

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