While Spanish vineyards are typically associated with La Rioja, the Ribera del Duero wine region has been gradually mounting a challenge for the crown of producing the country’s greatest wines.
This has come as somewhat of a surprise given the region’s extreme climate, which is characterised by biting cold winters, sun-bleached summers and the relatively high altitude of its position on a sprawling plateau nestled on the banks of the River Duero, 120km north of Madrid in Spain.
However, complemented by the river’s natural irrigation, silty limestone soils and a disparity between day and night temperatures, the Ribera del Duero wine region somehow provides the ideal conditions for producing Spain’s renowned red Tempranillo grape.
Known locally as Tinta Fina or Tinta del País, Tempranillo accounts for practically all of the wine production from the Ribera del Duero wine region – wine must be at least 75% Tempranillo to meet regulations. The most applauded examples are rich complex wines with notes of red berries, warm spices, leather and tobacco leaves.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec varieties are an afterthought generally used in blends, while Garnacha lends itself to the limited production of rosé.
The Ribera del Duero wine region has only been considered as a Denominación de Origen D.O, Spain’s highest wine classification, since 1982. But a newfound focus in producing quality red wines has brought staggering success on the international stage – leading to Ribera del Duero being named Wine Region of the Year 2012 by the prestigious Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
Nowadays, the rural region lays claim to over 200 wineries (bodegas) and more than 20,000 hectares of vineyards. The most renowned of these are settled along the ‘Milla de Oro’, or Golden Mile, which include iconic wineries such as Abadia Retuerta, Vega Sicilia and Pingus.
The vineyards, scattered in the spaces between the picturesque towns of Peñafiel, Roa de Duero, Aranda de Duero and San Esteban de Gormaz that idle along the river banks, employ traditional and modern techniques to produce outstanding red wines that have attracted visitors from all across the world.
Our Spanish local experts can arrange exclusive bespoke tours, luxury stays and incredible experiences in the Ribera del Duero wine region, including:
Our exclusive single-day tour of the region will take you to several vineyards accompanied by experts to explain the wineries, traditions and curiosities of the area – while simultaneously enjoying tastings and the local cuisine, which is famed for baby lamb roasted in a wooden fire oven.
History and culture enthusiasts will revel in medieval towns, castles and cathedrals that feature across our four-night tour that travels from Ribera del Duero, Rioja and Navarra that is guided by a local expert in wine and Spanish heritage.
For those more interested in architecture, the Ribera del Duero wine region features some of the most stunningly designed traditional and modern wineries anywhere in the world. Our four-night tour of wine and architecture will allow you to sample incredible wines in the shadows of creations from the likes of Frank Ghery, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers or Santiago Calatrava. The tour features a selection of handpicked wineries, restaurants and boutique hotels from past and present between Ribera del Duero and Rioja.
For more information visit our Ribera del Duero wine region guide and start planning an exclusive tour of an area that is fast staking its claim to be the finest producer in Spain