I have long known of Ribera Del Duero as a new Classic region, but have actually tasted few of the wines - nothwithstanding one very special evening with the outstanding Vega Sicilia.
The 100+ wines at this trade tasting were enough to give a sense of what Ribera Del Duero is all about and why it is held in such esteem - the raw materials here were quite amazing; freshness, intensity and concentration.
The difference between the most compelling wines and those that merely had potential was down to winemaking skill. The impression was of a prodigiously talented youth who has not quite got to grips with her natural ability; there was on occasion a rawness to the talent that needs time, experience and maturity to find its place.
Here are the wines I enjoyed best:
Bodegas Resalte de Penafiel, Resalte Crianza 2012 (£21.99 Champagne & Chateaux) spicy, meaty, vegetal with dark fruits. Concentrated with fine, firm tannins. Elegant, fresh and still young.
Lopez Cristobal, Reserva 2012 (Raeburn Fine Wines) dark fruits, meaty and vegetal. Long, fresh and firm with fine tannins. Well-structured and still young.
Aster Crianza 2013 (Armit) vegetal, fresh and juicy. Very harmonious.
Bodegas Cair 2011 (Alliance Wine, £44.50) fresh, berry fruited and spicy; vibrant, concentrated and harmonious. Juicy, long and supple.
Bodegas Fuentenarro, Reserva 2011 (£23.99, Les Caves de Pyrene) complex, farmyardy and mature with fresh berry fruit; vibrant, supple, concentrated and very harmonious.
Bodegas Fuentenarro, Gran Reserva 2010 (£34.50, Les Caves de Pyrene) fresh, red berry fruit and spices. Supple, harmonious and balanced with excellent old vine underpinnings.
Not the main event, but there were also some interesting rosés.
Cillar de Silos, Rosado de Silos 2016 (£14.25, FMV) crisp, fresh and linear; aromatic and spicy with good old vine underpinnings.
Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro, Rosado 2016 (Loeb) supple, with delicate red fruits.
Dominio del Aguila, Picaro del Aguila Clarete 2015 (£26, Indigo Wines) more complex and rounded with old vine concentration.