This is a wine, very much in the mold of Vega Sicilia and Alion, another wine that was made at Vega by winemaker Xavier. So well-balanced, a wine with immense power, but without being bulky and unyielding. As Xavier says, 'Ribera del Duero can be strong and elegant. I don’t understand why it always has to be massive.' It has such finesse. Not at all big like some Ribera del Duero but more in the style of Vega Sicilia - where you think of the wine a bit like a fine Lafite or Margaux. It's a lovely drink now but it will be so interesting to drink in another few years. Given its likely long life, there's a good chance for it to become a classic collectible.
We wrote to the producers who were in Tim Atkin's 'top 8 Ribera del Duero producers to watch', thinking we'd choose a few to make a mixed case. By the end the tasting, it was abundantly clear that this one, made by former winemaker of Spain's most revered and collected wine. Vega Sicilia (£400 for the current release) - was a wine we had to jump on quick. The winemaker is Xavier Ausas who grew up in the area and was partly educated in France, where he now consults. I suppose it's a bit like when John Duval left Penfolds where he made Grange, Australia's most revered wine. He was only going to go on and make more amazing wines. Like John, Xavier knows the vineyards and grape growers intimately, and knows exactly where to turn to get the best. Also, like John, he answers his own emails. It was amazing to be in touch with the great man himself, who was handed the torch by another Vega Sicilia legend, Mariano Garcia, who was winemaker between 1968 and 1998.
FROM THE PRESS
“Very much a pan-regional red, with components from Gumiel de Mercado, Moradillo, Nava de Roa and Roa, sourced from growers and some of his own vines, this is a youthful, engagingly perfumed Tinto Fino that's much more than the sum of its parts. Pure, perfumed and well-balanced, with voluptuous tannins, raspberry and blackberry fruit and bright, balancing acidity. Drink 2024-31.””Tim Atkin MW, Ribera del Duero Special Report