Rioja and Ribera del Duero, excellent vintages in 2010

by Arnaldo Alcón Cánovas

This week Appellations of Origin Rioja and Ribera del Duero have made public the status of the vintage 2010. In both cases it was considered that 2010 should be considered “excellent.”

The rating of the vintage is done after putting controls on young wines of each appellation, by the respective Control Board. These young wines that already are on sale, can at the same time predict the average quality of the Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva wines which will come out in the next years.

In Rioja, the Denomination of Origin covers an area of 100 km. long by 40km. maximum wide, that is, a lot of land. Each of the 3 Subareas (Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa) has a very different type of soil, and climates (going though the Mediterranean to continental), so the conditions have not been the same for all, neither can wine come out equal. Another thing is the case of very large production wineries that buy grapes throughout the whole D.O., so they are able to maintain a standardized flavor year after year.

We return to the classic debate about the validity of the myth of vintages, especially in countries like Spain with DO’s so extensive, and having in mind that the rating agency depends on those wineries …
On the other hand, if malicious, we could think on the commercial advantage of a good vintage in times of crisis.

In the case of Ribera del Duero, that feeling is accentuated because this is the second vintage in a row with a rating of “excellent” after 2009. In fact, after the official presentation of the score, has been ensured that “although it seemed impossible, the vintage 2010 will be even better than 2009.”

José Trillo, Chairman of the Denomination of Origin, said: “This is the miracle of the Ribera. So a year like 2010, where late frosts in May, rain and wind in full bloom in June , did not auger anything positive ,it also brought us and early summer and fall with an optimal temperature and that has left us with a historical and abundant harvest. ”

Anyway, now is your turn. Taste wines and decide whether it is true that this vintage is better than the previous one or not, so we’ll recommend 3 young wines of 2010 vintage for you to compare:

  • Milflores 2010: An excellent spring wine, tasty, fruity, lively on the palate. A Rioja wine from Bodegas Palacio for everyone’s taste and wit a good price.
  • Murmurón 2010: A young wine from the Bodega Sierra Cantabria, fresh and elegant in equal measure. Good wine.
  • Quintanal 2010: We go to the Ribera del Duero. Although its best known wines are crianzas, there is a range of young wines that are worth to consider. This Quintanal Roble 2010 is a good mix of fruit and wood scent, making it perfect for any meal.

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