The famous regions of Rioja and Ribera del Duero were the focus of the Richmond and Teddington Wine Societies’ March/early April tastings and we enjoyed three very buoyant nights.
Of course, it is impossible to do justice to these wines in just one tasting, but what showed through was some stunning fruit filled quality.
We kicked off with a couple of whites: an unoaked Verdejo from Vetus (from Rueda, a neighbour of Ribera) and a barrel fermented white Rioja from Izadi. The Verdejo was crisp and fresh with the characteristic grapefruit pith tang. The Rioja was weightier but the oak did not dominate.
We then explored Rioja’s Quality Designation as we tasted a trio from the excellent Bodegas Lan. The Crianza 2015 was bright and fresh and very approachable; the Reserva 2012 was more intense with greater evidence of oak; while the Gran Reserva 2010 was elegant and balanced with great depth of fruit.
A comparison of two Ribera del Duero wines from Finca Villacreces ensued. The concentration and depth of colour was a clear contrast to the lighter Riojas and both demanded some food to soften the structure and depth of fruit.
Our final comparison focused on the modernist approach of Bodegas Roda and La Horra which are owned by the same company and set up in the late 80’s and 90’s respectively.
The Corimbo I 2013 (from Ribera) was gloriously rich and full bodied with wonderfully ripe fruit and an illustrious future ahead of it. We tasted a Roda I (from Rioja) 2004 at Richmond, and the 2007 vintage at Teddington. Each was deeply coloured, belied its age and expressed a rich complex fruit that felt very different to stereotypical Rioja of that age.
I felt the battle between tradition and modernism is alive and well both between and within in both regions. And the winner? Definitely the people drinking these fantastic wines!
The wines are listed on the Wines we have tasted page.