Vino at the chateau: A benchmark of quality- If you drink Ribera, you drink Spain
One spring day in late March, we found ourselves in Spain’s most renowned wine region, Ribera del Duero, which is located about 90 minutes drive northwest of Madrid.
The area’s fame has grown thanks to houses such as Vega Secilia and Dominio de Pingus, which are some of Spain’s or perhaps even the world’s most acclaimed wineries, both in terms of quality and price.
I was fortunate to be invited to explore some of the greatest wineries of the region such as Unico, Valbuena, Flor de Pingus and Pingus.
Ribera del Duero has entered a new era where the focus on organic and biodynamic farming is gaining a strong foothold among the various producers.
Only the best
Bodega Comenge is a small, family-run winery with a focus on producing wine of the utmost quality in a sustainable way.
It is a place where people work with passion and drive, and all the grapes are, of course, harvested by hand.
I have had the pleasure of following the progress of this winery, from its foundation in 1999 to it becoming one of the very best.
A special fermentation process
Bodega Comenge uses a unique, patented fermentation process.
The vinification (the transformation of grapes into wine) includes the use of indigenous natural yeast strains, which have been identified and selected from Comenge’s parcels and then isolated with the help of scientists at the University of Madrid.
During the fermentation process, the must and peel are separated. The isolated natural yeast is then added to the must and further fermented. Only when the alcohol level reaches six percent, does the must mix again with the grapes to get its colour.
Verdejo is one of Spain’s best white wines. Boasting a full body and fresh, crisp acidity, it has a beautifully balanced flavour with a hint of nectarine and lime. The wine matches well with seafood as well as green Thai curry.
Don Miguel 2010
Don Miguel is a combination of 90 percent Tempranillo and 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a fine taste of rich mocha and truffle, while the aroma brings forth a scent of cherries. It is perfectly served with beef or lamb.
This is yet another great find from the Ribera del Duero region. Very smooth and polished, Biberius has a full-bodied taste with notes of plum and red berry. It’s excellent company for your BBQ or pasta with a robust sauce.
The Comenge label is made from 15 estates the winery owns in the Ribera del Duero region. Strong-flavoured, this dark ruby wine offers a stunning display of aromas and tastes: velvety tannins, wild berries, dark chocolate and nutmeg.
Fior de Pingus 2010
Raised in French oak barrels, the 2010 variation offers a truly intense experience for your taste-buds. It has a superb bouquet that is intense at first but unfolds beautifully. Although pricy, the wine is great value for your money.