FOOD & DRINK / Grapevine: Kathryn McWhirter on a great Spanish region
Sunday 30 October 1994
Journalists are lucky to get a drop at the imposing Vega Sicilia estate, and they say that even the King of Spain is on a tight allocation, such is the demand for this complex, powerful red. (In Britain you'd pay between pounds 40 and pounds 80 a for ready-to-drink bottle.) Vega Sicilia used to be the only fine red from the Ribera del Duero (literally 'the banks of the Duero', the up-stream extension of Portugal's port river, the Douro), a region of gentle, pine-covered hills a couple of hours' drive north of Madrid. Now the Ribera del Duero has become a cult area for Spanish winemakers and wine enthus-iasts. Seven new estates sprang up last year alone. Even Rioja producers, a little further north, have recognised the area's potential, and three have moved in to start to grow and make their own Ribera del Duero wines. Not all the new wines are good, but the best are rich and concentrated, a match for the very best Riojas. The finest competitor to the big Vega Sicilia estate is Alex-andro Fernandez, once the smith and agricultural machinery merchant of the village of Pesquera, with a wine-making business on the side. His sudden rise to fame in America and Spain has made his wines expensive, but the taste is worth the price: the vintage currently on sale here is the rich, velvety ****1991 Pesquera Crianza (pounds 9.99 Oddbins, pounds 10.42 Laymont & Shaw of Truro by mail order), a delicious, raspberry-fruity red with strong oak flavour. This will be brilliant (and certainly sold out) in two to three years. Also worth keeping a few years, ***1990 Mesoneros de Castilla Crianza, Ismael Aroyo (pounds 6.35 Fullers, pounds 7.95 Wine Society, pounds 7.99 David Byrne of Clitheroe, pounds 9.40 Berry Bros & Rudd of London SW1) is dark and tannic, chocolatey and slightly farmyardy, also with intense raspberry fruit. For impatient drinkers, the yummy ***1989 Duron Reserva (pounds 7.59 E&B Wines of Tonbridge, pounds 6.99 Harrison Vintners of EC1, pounds 8.17 Wine Appreciation of Doncaster) is ready now, soft and mature, with rich, ripe plum and strawberry fruit.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture