Epicure Vietnam

Tinto Fino and The Black Grapes of Ribera Del Duero

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Spain produces some excellent wines, and those from the region of Ribera del Duero are among the finest. Thanks to the hard work and passion of Alejandro Fernández and Esperanza Rivera, the full-bodied vinos from their family winery have put the region firmly on the wine-making map.

Familia Fernandez Rivera was establishe­d in 1975 in a 16th-century stone winery in the Spanish community of Castilla y León. It began with the ingenuity of Alejandro Fernández and Esperanza Rivera, as well as the hard work and unity of a family, and started to produce red wines that would put the region of Ribera del Duero on the world wine-making map. Together, the family have created one of the best wines in the world according to famous American wine journalist Robert Parker who compared their wine, Pesquera, to the iconic Petrus from Bordeaux after tasting the incredible 1982 vintage with Alejandro. The group now boasts four wineries, a luxury hotel and a team comprised of more than 120 people. Their wines are sold in over 70 countries worldwide.

Tinto Pesquera is a pioneer in Tempranill­o winemaking methods. The wine was given this name in honour of Pesquera de Duero, the town where the winery is located and where Alejandro and Esperaza were born. The vineyards of Ribera del Duero stretch intermitte­ntly for over 70 miles along the River Duero - sprawling lands consisting of a mix of different soils, exposures and elevations, with some slopes as high as a half-mile above sea level. The dry terrain, ample amounts of sunlight and extreme temperatur­e swings from day to night, sometimes with a 50-plus degree difference, create optimal ripening conditions for the Tempranill­o grapes that define Ribera del Duero wines distinctiv­e character.

The Tempranill­o grape is a source of great pride for the region. Known locally as ‘Tinto Fino,’ to distinguis­h it from other nearby Tempranill­o producing areas, it represents 95 percent of all the grapes grown in this special denominati­on. The Old Tempranill­o vines produce the signature wines of Ribera. These vines are at least 25 years old and represent about 35 percent of all vines planted — meaning a significan­t percentage of these vines have roots deep and nourished enough to survive the harsh climate. With fruit that tends to be smaller in size and more intense flavour, old vines have a reputation for producing wonderfull­y structured and balanced wines.

Ribera del Duero wines underscore the purest expression of Tempranill­o, Spain’s most well-known grape; big, bold and textured, but with plenty of rich, old-world sensibilit­y and notes of red berries, warm spices, leather and tobacco leaves. The region is home to some of Spain’s most sought after and celebrated wines. Ribera’s are crafted to age, developing complexity over time, yet balancing acidity with generous fruit and exceptiona­l when paired with food. The spices, dark fruit and smoky flavours of Ribera enhance anything off the grill, especially roasted meats and rich pasta. Ribera del Duero wines can best be compared to Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley thanks to those rich and bold flavours, but tend to be more refined and Old World in style offering more balance and less overpoweri­ng oak. Spain produces some excellent wines, and those from Ribera del Duero are among the country’s finest.

Available form: Thien Linh Wine Store 94 Ngoc Ha Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi Hedonism Wine Hub 35 Xuan Thuy Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, HCMC

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