Strap in. Yeah, that name is a mouthful even for a Spanish wine. Can it. If you have not heard of Ribera del Duero, here is your wake up call. Leave the Rioja to the wannabe and trendy consumer; this is much more complex and robust. Get your adult nose and taste buds ready; if you don't start with an open mind, you will pass this varietal off as flat and tannic, but it needs time to develop and a keen palate. I would say this is synonymous with any of this varietal, not just this iteration. Nose is boysenberry and pencil shavings, some under ripe cassis and plums, hints of ambergris and freshly tilled earth, some bright cherries as your nose clears. Palate will start astringent without enough time to breathe. Even with the Centellino decanter, this one needed a good 20 minutes in the glass to reveal itself. When it does though, get ready for an experience with the sturdiness of a Rutherford-esque blend, but with the nimbleness of a Burgundian cuvee. Flavors of chewy dark fruit and cassis, toasted oak bark, broad yet approachable tannic mouthfeel, the medium body belies the aromatics and deep purple, nearly scorched earth ink intensity, maroon color. Finish was long, obviously not as long as a Pingus or Monasterio – duh, but this one stays with you for a while. The tangy tannins leave a chalky, dull yet wonderful mineral feel on the teeth and tongue with a little zing of astringency in the back of the throat as the last bit passes the back molars. This one wraps up with lingering flavors of macerated blueberry skins, overripe strawberry, old pencil shavings, and licorice, little bit of caramel and soy sauce. Best entry level Ribera del Duero
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