Ribera del Duero has the complicated honor of being the second-most-famous red wine region in Spain. As in Rioja, Tempranillo (often known locally as Tinto Fino) is the principal grape here. Thanks to Ribera’s warmer climate and intense sunlight, its wines tend to be darker and more powerful than the red-fruited, high-toned wines of Rioja—no less complex at their best, just an intriguingly different interpretation of Tempranillo’s extraordinary potential.
BOTTLES TO TRY
2014 Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero ($24) Made from vineyards the Moro family has farmed since 1932, this well-priced introduction to the regional style balances espresso oak notes against juicy raspberry-cherry fruit.
2014 Tinto Pesquera Crianza ($28) Winemaker Alejandro Fernández almost single-handedly brought Ribera del Duero to fame in the late 1980s. His Tinto Pesquera is still one of the region’s most distinctive wines, with plush plum flavors blanketed under soft tannins.
2013 Dominio de Atauta ($45) At over 3,200 feet above sea level, Atauta alchemizes the minimal rainfall and cold nighttime temperatures of its location into elegant, age-worthy Riberas. This firm, red-fruited 2013 would be perfect with an herb-roast leg of lamb.
2012 Pérez Pascuas Viña Pedrosa Reserva ($65) An early player in the region that’s presently enjoying a renaissance of quality, Pérez Pascuas was founded in 1980 by three brothers. Its wines can be austere when young, but this 2012 is irresistible right now, its black cherry core wrapped with sweet vanilla oak.