Castilla y Leon: Ribera del Duero

Alvides (Villalba de Duero)

Alvides is a family Bodega. The Casado family’s grandfather founded the
Co-operative in Aranda del Duero in 1962. In 2001, the next generation set-up their own small winery with the help of Emmanuel Ivar, a young French oenologist who studied winemaking in the Loire and had moved to Ribera del Duero.
Alvides now have 25 ha of vines, all Tempranillo, with an average age of 40-50 years old.
Harvesting is always by hand. Every level of wine from Joven through Roble, Crianza up to the Reserva are treated to some time in French oak with much stirring of the lees.
The results are excellent: we find a high, dark fruit content in the nose (with a touch of vanilla – from the oak) and a fabulous suppleness in the mouth.

Arco de Curiel (Curiel)

If you ask the Spanish which region makes their finest wine you will often be surprised to hear it’s not Rioja but Ribera del Duero (unless you are actually in La Rioja, of course). Around 150kms north of Madrid, in the old kingdom of Castille y Leon, between Valladolid and Zaragoza, Ribera del Duero combines the deep, gutsy, sweaty tones we associate with Spanish reds with silky elegance. Tempranillo is the grape – known as Tinto del Pais here.
We were delighted to discover Arco de Curiel, made in the shadow of the rather large gateway into the rather small village of Curiel outside Peñafiel. When we visited in June we were given the full tour of every vineyard and a nearby cliff populated by vultures. This beautiful Roble is bold, deep and gutsy. Rich, oaky, plummy and yet elegant and makes the perfect match with the locals’ favourite food – grilled spring lamb with green salad and a hunk of bread. Yum.