The Wine of the Week
by Annette Tomei
2008 Bodegas Montebaco, “Montebaco” Vendimia Seleccionada, Castilla y Léon, Ribera del Duero DO, Spain
The Ribera del Duero has built a reputation on the high-quality red wines produced here. It is, arguably, the most popular DO in the Castilla y Leon region of Spain. Because it is lesser known than its famous neighbor, Rioja, there are frequently better deals to be found from this relative newcomer to the high-end wine market (until the late 20th century, the focus was on quantity, not quality).
The Ribera del Duero’s vineyards are located inland and experience extremes of temperature. During the growing season, hot dry days and significantly cooler nights are credited with developing complex aromatic structure and firm tannins in the Tempranillo fruit – the primary red grape of the region.
Bodegas Montebaco, on the Monte Alto estate, created Vendimia Seleccionada (Selected Vintage) to show off what they consider to be the highest expression of the estate’s production each year. Although it is made primarily from the Tempranillo grape, it is a blend that changes each vintage.
The 2008 vintage has the aroma of deep, dark baking cocoa that gets your attention and holds it from the first sip to the last. This wine has moderate tannins, a soft silky texture with well-integrated oak characteristics (sweet spices and a slight smokiness). It is delicious with blue cheese. For a splurge, it may be even better if that blue cheese were on a burger with some thick, smoky bacon and caramelized onions!
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