Today it’s a look at a quartet of Spanish wines, all from the Ribera del Duero region and nearby Rueda. Ribera is home to red wines, Rueda is for whites. For the most part, these wines are more affordable than those in Rioja, a bit further to the east. Let’s dive in to the four of them.
2017 Torres Verdeo Rueda – Steely verdejo, with ample mineral notes and a crisp metallic edge. The fruit underneath is unripe with a green, grassy character and a hint of toasty coconut on the back end. The neutrality (and low, low price) of the wine at least makes it versatile, though it’s not especially elevated. B / $12
2016 Shaya Habis Rueda – An oaked verdejo, doughy on the nose with overtones of lemon peel and vanilla up front, bready and chewy as the palate develops. Notes of melon and a touch of spice don’t ever quite mesh perfectly on the nougat-heavy body, and the wine concludes with a lasting, slightly gummy character. B- / $30
2018 Torremoron Ribera del Duero – This unoaked tempranillo wears its fruit on its sleeve — and the rest of its clothes, for that matter. Notes of fresh strawberry and sweet cherry juice give the wine a vibrancy reminscent of Beaujolais Nouveau, though without the ultra-youthful funk that latter wine often exhibits. That said, the lack of any real body here causes it to get a bit lost at mealtime, and the wine comes across as thin and a bit simple. Best as an aperitif. B- / $13
2015 Condado de Haza Ribera del Duero Crianza – Again, 100% tempranillo, though decidedly different thanks to its time in barrel. This wine showcases richly extracted notes of raspberries and currants, with notes of balsamic lingering considerably on the finish. Hints of licorice on the finish add some structure. B / $18