To be honest, I’ve always avoided one of the top three classical regions of the Old World – Spain. It’s not because I didn’t like the wines or because the DOs were not as interesting. The main reason was totally coincidental – bottles from Italy and France always found their way to my table before any other did. So today is the day I warm things up with some laid-back Ribera del Duero.
Quinta Milú La Cometa 2012 excites me just by its label. It’s very simple, minimalistic and approachable. The colour of the wine in the glass is deep violet, indicating a youngster on the rise. Now, the nose is where things start to get interesting. Pretty reductive on the first sniff, but after some decanting, this disappears and fuses into notes of blueberry, black currant, dried plum, leather and Mediterranean spices. The palate is dry with high acidity, tannins and alcohol. Very well-balanced, but too aggressive on the beginning, so for the love of God, decant or pair with food (grilled lamb chops & roasted potatoes *drooling*). The aging potential of the 2012 is decent (thanks to the dry conditions contributing to high tannins and deep concentration), it has a long finish and a nice balance, but lacks in complexity (mostly primary notes dominate, where secondary aromas of vanilla and toast are pretty coy). Definitely needs more strength as well to be something more than “an interesting wine”.
Grape varieties: 100% Tempranillo
Aging: 12 months in French and American barriques
Average price: 14€
GN score: 87/100
Region: Spain – Castilla y Leon – Ribera del Duero
Ahhh, Tempranillo, my long forgotten compadre. This is a grape variety with which I have a proper love-hate relationship. Sometimes I adore the complexity its wines can give, sometimes I want to fling it into the windows of the shops I buy it at. On the other hand, Spanish synonyms for this grape are Tinto del Toro, Tinta Fina, Tinto del Pais and they sound so majestic, that I wine lover just mustn’t pass up the opportunity to at least take a hint-sip of its liquid. When talking about its characteristics, Tempranillo has fairly thin skins (which make it susceptible to rot and mold in the vineyard) and remarkable anthocyanin levels, which provide deep colour and medium-high tannins. The wines are not sweet-driven, but rather produced to please the fans of spicy masculinity. Therefore, they are aged in oak 99% of the time and, as a result, rewarded with greater complexity.
Ribera’s Quinta Milú is a micro winery committed to old traditions and biodynamic viticulture in which winemaker Germán R. Blanco produces wines from old Tempranillo vines and uses different types and sizes of casks and barrels. His vineyards are blessed by the region’s natural surroundings including the Duero River (providing irrigation and a smooth cooling effect) and the inland mountain ranges which create a high diurnal range, leading to optimum balances of aromas and other chemical compounds in the grapes.
Written by Aleksandar Draganić.
I’m a WSET certified grape juice drinker, and yes, I’m that 1% of people that love their job. I drink wine, write about it, preach about it, even take pictures of it. Find me at @grapenomad