All Stars of Ribera Del Duero Wine Tasting featuring Pingus, Vega Sicilia and more...

Saturday, June 13, 2020 - 07:30 PM

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“With bread and wine you can walk your road”

Spanish Proverb quotes



Spain has been making age worthy red wines for over a century, and in the past even the best wines from Spain had this old world dusty earth character that defined Spanish wine for me.  The traditional approach to winemaking often hindered the quality of many Spanish wines: dirty barrels, old bottling equipment, poor cellar conditions, and a lack of talented winemakers were the culprits that made great wine only possible in the best vintages.  Today, there has been a quality revolution in Spain and one of the leading areas for high quality red wines is Ribera Del Duero. 


Ribera Del Duero is to the south of Spain’s most famous wine region Rioja.  The Ribera del Duero appellation officially came into being in 1982, when there were still only nine wineries bottling in the area and much of the production went directly into jugs and pitchers.  But by the early '90s, several dozen new wineries had opened for business, taking advantage of the decades-old vines of Tempranillo (called Tinto del País or Tinto Fino locally).  Ribera is home to Spain’s very first “Cult Wine”, Vega Sicilia made by the grandfather of Spanish winemaking Mariano Garcia.  A few years later Alejandro Fernadez made a big impact in the world of wine with his Pesquera wines.  Today this area is home to some of the hottest new names on the Spanish wine scene: Bodeaga Hermanos, Dominio De Atauta, Hacienda Monasterio, and one of the newest “Cult Wines” of Spain Pingus.


Peter Sisseck, a Danish winemaker came to Ribera del Duero in 1990 by way of Bordeaux to make wine for Hacienda Monasterio.  In 1995, he decided to create two new Ribera del Duero wines that established a new paradigm of opulence and power – Pingus and Flor de Pingus.  His objective was to make unmistakably Spanish terroir-driven wines.  These wines were the first wines to transcend traditional Spanish winemaking.   They caused a sensation not only in Spain but throughout the world, with winemakers everywhere scurrying to emulate them.  Sisseck has since become a cult figure and his wine ranks with the world’s best and most collectable.  He has led a new generation of  Spanish winemakers that are producing really top quality wines that reflect the true potential of Spanish wine.  


The legendary Pingus is harder to find than the infamous Screaming Eagle from Napa Valley, however the second wine made at this estate, Flor de Pingus, is a taste of this unique terroir at a fraction of the coast (Pingus sells for between $500-$1000 per bottle).  Flor De Pingus is made from 100% Tempranillo grapes.  After fermentation in steel or large wooden vat, the wines are raised in 100% new French oak.  Peter uses as little sulphur as possible and carefully seasons the young wines, controlling their exposure to oxygen and utilizing lees contact to give the final wines their exotic textures.  The primary difference between the two cuvees is that the Pingus is made from four parcels of the region’s oldest vines, while the Flor de Pingus is made from more diverse sites, but still with a healthy percentage of old vines.


See the source image Bodegas Vega Sicilia Unico Tinto 2003 |

All Stars of Ribera Del Douro Spanish Wine Tasting

Saturday, June 13th



2005 Bodeaga Hermanos Vina Sastre Pago de Santa Cruz Ribera Del Duero

2005 Vega Sicilia Unico Ribera del Duero

2007 Vega Sicilia Unico Ribera Del Duero

2008 Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez Tinto Pesquera Millenium Reserva Ribera del Duero

2010 Dominio De Atauta Valdegatiles Ribera Del Douro

2011 Dominio de Atauta Llanos de Almendro Ribera Del Duero

2014 Vega Sicilia Valbuena Ribera Del Duero

2003 Pingus Ribera Del Duero

2006 Pingus Ribera Del Duero

2016 Pingus Ribera Del Duero

2017 Pingus Ribera Del Duero



Jamon de Serrano and Manchego

Wild Mushroom Ajoblanco

Spanish Olive Pisto

Venison Chop with Tempranillo Demi Glaze and Tortilla Española


The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $395 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail


A bit about Ribera Del Duero:

Officially, the Denominación de Origen (D.O.) of Ribera del Duero was founded on July 21, 1982 by an organization of wine producers and growers who were determined to promote the quality of their wines and enforce regulatory standards.


In practice, winemaking in Ribera dates back over 2,000 years to the Roman era, as evidenced by a recent find, a 66-meter mosaic of Bacchus, the god of wine, unearthed at Baños de Valdearados.  In the middle ages, new plantings by monasteries such as the Cistercians in Valbuena de Duero (first to arrive in the 12th Century) and the Benedictines from Cluny in Burgundy spurred a revival in local winemaking.  Ribera’s earliest underground cellars with their distinctive chimneys were built in the thirteenth century in towns across the region, and still serve to protect wines from the extreme climate.


Wine became an essential aspect of Ribera’s cultural and economic development facilitating trade with other areas of Spain and resulting in the first quality regulations, the "Ordinances of Castilla y León," in the fifteenth century.  Ribera wines were highly regarded for export at the height of the Spanish Empire in the 17th and 18th centuries, and in more recent times the founding of Bodega Vega Sicilia in 1864 heralded the quality credentials of the region prior to the formal establishment of the D.O.


Today, new technology and modern techniques as well as a respect for tradition have driven the quality of Ribera del Duero to its highest accomplishments in over two millennia of winemaking history. Ribera wines have received international acclaim and enjoy widespread distribution.


The climate of Ribera del Duero is unique and ideally suited to growing quality red grapes. Mediterranean with Continental influences, the Ribera climate is characterized by extremes; the region has the highest average elevation in Europe for growing red wine grapes, hot summers, cold winters, a short growing season, minimal rainfall, and a diversity of soils.  Combined, these conditions favor the highest quality winemaking.


Summers are short and hot with temperatures ranging from 50 to 60 °F (10 to 15.5 °C) at night to over 100 °F (38 °C) during the day.  Rapid daily temperature changes during the growing season facilitate healthy ripening of the grapes by day, and promote balanced acidity and aromatic complexity at night.  Moderate to low rainfall, with an average of approximately sixteen inches per year, and extremely limited summer rainfall, also contributes to a perfect, consistent ripening of the vine.


On average, the vineyards of Ribera are planted between approximately 2,500 to 2,800 feet (760 to 850 meters) above sea level (with some vineyards as high as 3,100 feet or 945 meters), resulting in considerable differential between night and daytime temperatures.


Soil conditions in Ribera are near-perfect, with a great diversity of soils extending from the banks of the Duero to the steepest slopes.  Closest to the river, soils are alluvial with sand and reddish clay.  At higher elevations, alternating layers of limestone, marl and even chalk are a notable feature, even with many outstanding plantings on limestone sites.


The main grape variety of the Ribera region is Tempranillo, known locally as Tinto Fino or Tinta del País. Tempranillo, an early-ripening variety, (from "temprano" meaning "early"), is ideally suited to Ribera’s shorter growing season and extreme conditions.


Widely planted and cherished throughout Spain, Tempranillo produces red wines that are well-balanced in sweetness, color and acidity and yields fresh and fruity characteristics with appealing aromas such as black plums, cherry, and licorice. In Ribera del Duero Tempranillo yields smaller berries, loose clusters and tougher skin, which encourages more skin-to-juice contact and promotes full-bodied, powerful wines that still retain the grape’s renowned elegance. The combination of power and elegance represents Tempranillo’s signature in Ribera del Duero, and the region’s singular contribution to winemaking today.


D.O. Ribera del Duero adheres to and closely monitors strict quality controls. During harvest each winery is assigned a surveyor by the Consejo Regulador of D.O. Ribera del Duero, the governing body that oversees all aspects of the viticultural and winemaking process. The Consejo regulates where the grapes come from, the varieties used, the percentages allowed, vineyard practices including pruning, density, and yields, winemaking procedures, alcohol levels and labeling. In practice, the wineries consistently outperform the high standards set by the Consejo in order to maximize quality production.


There are several designations for wines that are produced in the Ribera del Duero: Joven, Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva, and Rosado.


* Joven:  Joven wines have no oak at all. "Joven Roble" and "Joven Barrica" are interchangeable terms that refer to wines aged for a short period of three to six months in oak, released soon after harvest. All wines with a Joven classification are fruity and vibrant, and meant to be consumed quite young.


* Crianza:  Aged two years, a minimum of twelve months in oak barrels. They can be released after the first of October, two years after the harvest. These wines have well balanced tannins with a full-bodied and velvety mouthfeel.


* Reserva:  Aged three years, a minimum of twelve months in oak barrels; can only be placed on the market after the first of October of the third year after the harvest.  After twelve months in oak barrels, Reserva wines are then bottled and laid down in winery cellars, producing wines that are ready to drink once they enter the market. Reserva wines are elegant and intense, with a rich aftertaste that is long and persistent.


* Gran Reserva:  Wines of outstanding quality, made in select vintage years only. Aged a minimum of sixty months, with twenty-four months in oak barrels minimum followed by additional bottle aging. First release is allowed after the first of October, five years after the harvest. After twenty-four months in oak barrels, Gran Reserva wines are then bottled and laid down in winery cellars, producing wines ready that are ready to drink at the time of release. Gran Reserva wines are complex and structured, with great balance and vitality.


* Rosado:  Rosé wines are fermented without the skin of the grape and are available shortly after the harvest. Easy to enjoy, with refreshing wild-berry flavors.


The use of oak is closely regulated by type and classification. In addition, oak barrels are changed every four years on average.


Maximum Yields are limited to 7,000 kilograms per hectare (3.1 tons per acre). In practice, the average yields for the past twenty-two years have rarely exceeded 3,600 kilograms per hectare (1.6 tons per acre),  as grape-growers reduce quantity, driven by a pursuit of quality.

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