The wines of Ribera del Duero

These notes accompany a in-depth feature on Ribera del Duero. For profiles of all of these estates please see Regional report: All change in Ribera del Duero.


UK importer of Bodegas Comenge is Eurowines. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

Bodegas Comenge, Verdejo Rueda 2013, Spain
Like many Ribera del Duero producers, Comenge sources grapes from nearby Rueda so that it can have a quality white wine in its portfolio. 2013 was “Not a great year, with very high yields.” according to winemaker Raphael. Nice herbal character, a touch of elderflower, with juicy pear fruit and nicely perfumed. Cool, refreshing, a nice balance though not a huge amount of fruit concentration – perhaps that does suggest a touch of dilution, but very nicely done, fresh and pleasing to drink. 86/100.

Bodegas Comenge, Ribera del Duero Roble ‘Biberius’ 2013, Spain
100% Tempranillo, aged five months in barrel. Talcumy nose, arguably a touch confected, with floral notes and something a little ashy and dry. Primary fruit on the palate, with a lean, juicy character. It’s a fruit-driven, Beaujolais style, elegant, but at the expensive of generosity perhaps? 86/100.

Bodegas Comenge, Ribera del Duero Crianza 2010, Spain
100% Tempranillo, this spent 14 months in oak, 85% French and one third new. Juicy cherry and raisin, quite a ripe blackcurrant fruit aroma, nicely judged oak. Creamy and tight on the palate, with a tight, bittersweet tannin quality, but has that choclalte and charry grip. A little conflict between the sweetness of fruit and the grip of the finish, but lovely ripeness. 88-89/100.

Bodegas Comenge, Bodegas Comenge, Ribera del Duero Crianza 2005, Spain
Nice to taste a more mature example. Again 100% Tempranillo, 14 months in oak. Lovely savoury black fruit character, some briar and taut, juicy fruit, quite saevoury with liquorice and tart bittersweetness. Nicely balanced, and has held very well. 89/100.

Bodegas Comenge, Ribera del Duero Reserva ‘Don Miguel’ 2009, Spain
This spent 18 months in oak, and has 10% Caberenet Sauvingon in the blend. Big, sweet, plush and mint-touched nose, loads of creaminess and eucalyptus power. Really slick black fruit, plush and sweet on the palate too, with lovely chocolate ripeness to tannins, fine weight and texture, and finishes long with lovely clarity. 91/100.

Bodegas Comenge, Ribera del Duero Reserva ‘Don Miguel’ 2004, Spain
The first ever vintage of this wine. Same winemaking and again 10% Caberenet. Peppery, spicy, has mint and chocolate again, but lovely ripe fruit too. Deliciously smooth and supple stuff, with a touch of briar and leather, but really nice balance and length, the cherry-bright juiciness there but showing lovely development. 92-93/100.

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 BODEGAS Arzuaga

UK importer of Bodegas Arzuaga is O.W.Loeb. See all stockists on wine-searcher

Bodegas Arzuaga, Ribera del Duero Crianza 2011, Spain
With 14.5% alcohol, and as well as Tempranillo this has 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Merlot in the blend. Everything is selected via a sorting table, and the wine spends 16 months in a combination of French oak (30% new) and American oak (60% new). Dustiness and tobacco notes, a touch of eucalyptus. Tight black fruit and the spice is there. Flooded with creamy black fruit, edgy and has a big dense stripe of charry oak and tannin gives this huge grip against the smooth sweet density of the fruit. A powerful wine with body and structure to age. 90/100.

Bodegas Arzuaga, Ribera del Duero Reserva 2009, Spain
This is 95% old vine Tempranillo and 5% of the white Albillo, and spends 26 months in French oak. The Albillo “brings freshness and lowers the PH.” Lovely deep ruby colour. Gorgeous nose, with vanilla and cream, but also delicate floral notes, also a meaty, with gentle smoke and earth complexity. Really very attractive. The smooth, cool sweetness on the palate is delicious, a nice edge of acidity and of just enough spicy tannic grip, but the sweet and creamy fruit density is beautifully balanced. 92-93/100.

Bodegas Arzuaga, Ribera del Duero Reserva Especial 2010, Spain
Whole bunches macerated and fermented in big oak barrels. Same blend as Reserva, spending 24 months in French oak. The ‘Especial’ is a selection of grapes, but also coming from a single vineyard. Lots of crunchy red berry fruit, smokiness, some exotic spices and A hint of curranty intensity. The palate has a creamy weight and texture, there’s a touch of lead pencil a touch of herbs and floral character. The freshness is delightful. With juiciness and creaminess and something mineral and vital. Delicious and very youthful. 93/100.

Bodegas Arzuaga, Ribera del Duero Gran reserva 2004, Spain
Only the fourth Gran Reserva made since company was founded in 1983. It is a blend of 90% old vines Tempranillo, the rest oak-fermented Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It spends 50 months in oak, all French and all new. “It comes from a great vintage and from a specific plot,” Ignacio tells me. Meaty aromas, tobacco, pencil shavings, a touch of spices and then floral aspects emerge. Very complex. Some earthy wild yeast character. The palate has delicious fruit. Really solid and fruit concentrated, with red fruits – hints of raspberry and strawberry, but the liquorice and endive stripe of tannin and concentration is hugely powerful. 95/100. Needs considerable time yet. 65 euro.

Bodegas Arzuaga, Ribera del Duero 2001 Gran Reserva, Spain
The year of a huge spring frost, according to Ignacio, so this was made from the fruit of a second flowering and was a very small production, harvested in October. It spent 30 months in oak. Tobacco, spice and some gaminess, tarry too, but a big balsamic strawberry fruit and touch of toffee. On the palate certainly more mature – not at all oxidised, but concentrated and firm, a touch of leathery concentration and in some ways the oak marking it a little more, still vanilla and coconut joining the intense, slightly raisined fruit and slightly pruney quality, bloody, but serious and still delicious. 92/100. Gran Reservas followed this in 2004, 2005 and 2009.

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UK importer of Bodegas Arzuega is Codorniu UK. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

Bodegas Legaris, Rueda Verdejo 2013, Spain
100% Verdejo for this 12% alcohol Rueda wine in 2013, though sometimes has a little Sauvignon Blanc. 250,000 bottles are produced. Ripe, but has the clean apple and pear-skin tang, fresh on the palate with citrus and just hints of peach, but tangy if just a touch dilute. 84-85/100.

Bodegas Legaris, Ribera del Duero Roble 2013, Spain
Matured in all American oak for three months, and all Tempranillo. Bright, creamy, quite Beaujolais-like with its sappiness and cherry freshness. The oak is perhaps slightly jarring against the otherwise fresh character, adding just a slight bitter aspect, but juicy and gluggable. 85/100.

Bodegas Legaris, Ribera del Duero Crianza 2011, Spain
MAde in 50/50 French and American oak, around 25% new. A slightly dusty and spicy note from the oak, some cedary aspects and ripe, plum and blackberry fruitiness. The palate has a nice medium bodied texture and richness, with a stripe of tannin and decent acidity, the oak adding a slightly charry note and a little astringency. Lots of meaty substance. 87-88/100.

Bodegas Legaris, Ribera del Duero Reserva 2010, Spain
All French oak, with malolactic in barrels, a combination of new and one year old. Quite dense, meaty aromas, a little bit reduced at this stage. Obvious extra ripeness, moving into overripeness perhaps, a touch of prune and raisin, chocolate and obvious sweetness. That does add flesh and creaminess, easing the finish which has dry tannin and nice cherry acidity, but the fruit is allowed to show a little more. 89-90/100.

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