We have a full slate of wine events coming up in Little Rock as soon as I return from Europe the first week of October. Here are a few of them: An eWine Sampllng at Cajun’s Wharf on Oct. 3. AELC Wine Classes begin Oct.8, a Wine Dinner at Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, where I’ll unveil my much-anticipated, great new California winery, part of our wine importing project. And, If you haven’t yet purchased your advance tickets for the Oct. 4 Festival of Wines, here’s a list of stores with tickets see the bulletin board.
That’s all for now, I’ll be back in October. In the meantime,
Try a new wine this week!
Ribera del Duero, Spain
Located in Spain’s northern plain, the upper Duero (“doo AY roh”) River has become one of the country’s fastest growing wine regions. It’s known for reds, mainly from the tempranillo grape, widely considered Spain’s best. Because the growing season is hotter here than in that grape’s native Rioja region to the northeast, cabernet sauvignon and other later-ripening grapes are often blended in. To be called Ribera del Duero the wine must contain at least three-fourths tempranillo.
As with much of the arid parts of Spain, the warm days are balanced by cool nights. That’s good for grapes.
Like many new wine trends, it’s actually an old one rediscovered. From the heart of Castille, this wine was popular in the days of Queen Isabella—that’s 15th century Spain, even before Columbus discovered America (Isabella financed his journey). In more recent times this wine became very well known after wine writer Robert Parker touted it. The number of wineries tripled.
At its best, Ribera de Duero is a deeply colored red wine, full-bodied and intensely flavored, but not over-extracted or heavy-handed. Those that say Crianza, Riserva or Gran Riserva must be aged before release, and sometimes trade some of that deep color for complexity of nose and flavor. That’s not always popular in this country.
These wines go well with roasted meats, steaks of course, and flavorful cheeses. Good names include Zumaya and Valdubon. Most retail for $15 to $25 per bottle.