Tim Atkin MW on North-West Spain’s Indigenous Varietals

One of the most important and diverse wine regions of Spain, Castilla y León combines notable DOs such as Ribera del Duero, Toro, Rueda and Bierzo.  It is the diversity and personality of the indigenous varietals, each with their own character specific to the local terroir, that make the wines produced in this area so enticing.

Verdejo, Castilla y León’s flagship white and Tempranillo, its chief red, dominate Castilla y León’s 70,000 hectares of vineyards, but the region has other varieties in abundance, some of which are little known, or cultivated, beyond its borders: Albarín Blanco, Albillo Mayor, Estaladiña, Juan García, Mandón, Prieto Picudo and Rufete Blanco for example.

For the next in the Three Wine Men series of virtual tastings, Tim tasted through a range of wines to discover the most exciting wines produced from indigenous varietals from this region.  He wasn’t disappointed, in fact, his excitement was palpable and he can’t wait to share his favourite six!

 

You can find the recording of the virtual tasting below, along with his tasting notes and scores for all wines submitted for consideration.

 

 

97 POINTS

BODEGA TRES PILARES – Monica Fernández Oxidativa Gran Vino de Guarda
Complex, oxidatively handled Verdejo of remarkable depth and intensity, showing flavours of sourdough bread, rock salt, beeswax and spices and lots of extract. A brilliant, off-beat style.

BODEGAS FELIX CALLEJO – Félix Callejo 2020
Wonderfully fresh, well-balanced, intense, high-altitude Ribera del Duero from one of the region’s best bodegas. Lovely oak, chalky, refined.

 

95 POINTS

VIÑAS DEL CAMBRICO – Villanueva Rufete 2020
Mint and wild herb aromas segue into a palate that’s floral, intense and graceful, with redcurrant, fennel and wild strawberry intensity.

 

94 POINTS

BODEGAS Y VIÑEDOS GANCEDO – Herencia del Capricho Goldello 2020
Bold, rich, structured Godello with stony minerality, citrus and beeswax notes and impressive old vine concentration.

BODEGAS Y VIÑEDOS VALTRAVIESO – Las Mamblas 2020
Structured, refreshing, old-vine cuvée of five varieties showing bramble, red berry and black olive flavours and remarkable minerality and palate length.

 

93 POINTS

BODEGAS VALDUBON – Valdubón Diez CVC
An intriguing, non-vintage wine that’s all about freshness, acidity and focus, with subtle oak and bramble, cassis and redcurrant fruit.

LAGAR DE PROVENTUS – Tr3smano 2020
Well-structured, savoury, spicy, acid-driven Ribera with impressive concentration, lots of chalky minerality and a refreshing finish.

PROTOS BODEGA RIBERA DUERO DE PEÑAFIE – Protos 27 2020
Modern Ribera with stylishly handled oak: bramble, plum and blackberry fruit with top notes of Asian spices.

VIÑEDOS Y BODEGAS DOMINIO DE TARES – Cepas Viejas 2019 Mencía
Fresh, tangy, structured, violet-scented Bierzo with notes of lavender, bramble and blueberry and a nip of tannin.

 

92 POINTS

BODEGA CUATRO RAYAS – Longverdejo Edición Limitada Gran Vino 2022
Structured, bone-dry Verdejo with lime and lemongrass flavours and a long, tapering finish.

BODEGA HERMANOS DEL VILLAR – Oro de Castilla Verdejo Finca Lor Hornos 2019
Intense, lightly wood-influenced Rueda with the concentration and focus to develop further in bottle. Peach, citrus and honeysuckle notes combine appealingly on the palate.

BODEGA HERMANOS DEL VILLAR – Oro de Castilla Verdejo 2016
Proof that good Verdejo ages well: salty and intense, with lime, toast and citrus flavours

BODEGAS ABADÍA SAN QUIRCE – M9 2021
Fresh, mineral, perfumed, well-balanced Tinto Fino that will evolve in bottle with a lovely interplay between plum and blueberry fruit and oak.

BODEGAS PEIQUE – El Pedregal Godello 2021
Bone-dry, vivid, salty Godello with cool climate intensity, plenty of backbone and a touch of ferrous grip.

BODEGAS VIRIATUS – Alboca Viñas Viejas Crianza 2019
Spicy, savoury, refreshingly well-balanced, modern Toro with the accent on finesse. Spicy plum and red berry fruit supported by stony minerality and well-judged tannins.

BODEGAS Y VINEDOS VINA MAYOR – Secreto 3 2020
Impressive, pan-regional Ribera in a modern style, with the accent on acidity, wild herb, plum and red berry flavours.

DE ANDRES SISTERS – Garganta Del Águila – Garnacha 2020
Savoury, grippy, deceptively light-coloured Garnacha, showing lots of grip, top notes of Mediterranean herbs, redcurrant and goji berry fruit and a stony finish.

DOMINIO DE CALOGIA – Coshecha 2020
Still youthful, structured and intense, with lashings of sweet spicy oak and the backbone and concentration to age.

BODEGAS TAMPESTA – Maneki Albarin 2021
Intense, concentrated, apricot and jasmine-like white with well-handled, spicy oak and palate-cleansing acidity.

 

91 POINTS

BODEGAS VIYUELA – Gran Reserva 2015
Mature, complex, tertiary Ribera del Duero with lots of concentration, fig and blackberry jam flavours and a volatile lift.

JOSE ANTONIO GARCIA GARCIA – Carullón Viñas Viejas Mencía 2021
Earthy, concentrated, Mencía with good freshness and flavours of bramble and red fruits. More concentrated than you think at first.

 

90 POINTS

BODEGA Y VIÑEDOS MILÉNICO – Valdepila 2016
Still youthful expression of the 2016, with bramble, dried herb and red berry fruit, fresh acidity and deftly handled wood.

BODEGAS NAVARRO BALBAS – Nabal Crianza 2019
Fresh for a 2019 Ribera, with good structure, bramble and summer berry fruit, stylish tannins and supporting acidity.

BODEGAS VEGANZONES – 912 de Altitud Cosecha 2020
Ripe, sweetly wooded Ribera with lots of blackberry fruit and enough supporting acidity to freshen and lift the finish.

HIJOS DE ALBERTO GUTIERREZ – Monasterio de Palazuelos Verdejo 2022
Honeyed, citrus and pear-drop Verdejo with good structure and underlying concentration.

SPECIAL WINES-SPAIN – Tinta Rosa Vinification Integral 2021
Ripe, fleshy, full-bodied style, showing lots of toast and vanilla spice, blueberry and blackberry fruit and a backbone of assertive tannin.

 

89 POINTS

BODEGAS ABADÍA LA ARROYADA – Reserva 2017
A well-handled expression of the tricky 2017 vintage: bramble, wild herbs and a touch of earth and tobacco leaf. Developing nicely.

BODEGAS EL LAGAR DE ISILLA – San Juan del Monte 2020
Firm and a little closed, with chewy tannins, stony acidity and redcurrant and pomegranate fruit.

BODEGAS PANDORA – Pandra Sauvignon 2022
Pleasant, gooseberry and grapefruit scented white with a little sweetness.

BODEGAS PORTIA – Prima 2020
Big, bold, ripe, full-throttle Ribera with assertive oak sweetness, glossy tannins and fig and blackberry jam flavours.

CANTARIÑA VINOS DE FAMILIA – Cantariña 3 El Triángulo 2018
Spicy, savoury and slightly evolved style with notes of fig and jam and a slight volatile lift.

DIEZ SIGLOS DE VERDEJO – Verdejo Ecológico 2022
Appealingy scented, apple and nectarine palate with a peppery twist.

MAZAS COOPERATIVA – Crianza 2018
Assertively oaked, vanilla spice, plum and blackberry fruit with a spine of tannins.

 

88 POINTS

BODEGA COOP. DE CIGALES – Gran Torondos 2022
Juicy, sappy, unwooded Tinta del País with good underlying structure and damson and blueberry fruit.

BODEGA Y VIÑEDOS MARTIN BERDUGO – Parcela 100 2021
Slightly sweet, soft, supple, fruit-driven Tinto Fino. Pleasant and easy drinking.

BODEGAS CARRAMIMBRE – Crianza 2020
Spicy, slightly assertive oak, with some coconut and chocolate notes, fresh acidity and a core of blackberry fruit.

LA LONJA PINCIANA – 5° Lar de Maía
Tannic, firm, serious, with coffee bean oak. Needs more time in bottle.

 

87 POINTS

ADELA FOLGUERAL MARTINEZ – Vi Lof 2020 Mencia
Rough and ready, tangy, high acidity style of Mencía with decent freshness.

BODEGAS LOPEZ CRISTOBAL – Bagus 2020
Still young, slightly reductive style, with a little sweetness, a touch of oak and layers of black fruits.

MAZAS COOPERATIVA – Petit Verdot 2020
Sweet, slightly simple, sturdy red with lots of acidity and chewy tannins.

 

86 POINTS

BODEGAS CASTELO DE MEDINA – Sauvignon Blanc 2022
A little evolved for a 2022 and lacking in varietal character.

BODEGAS Y VIÑEDOS LLEIROSO – Luz Millar Roble 2022
Pleasant, slightly sweet Roble style showing a little reduction and plum and blackberry fruit.

J. FERNANDO VIÑEDOS Y BODEGAS – Verdejo 2022
Peach and grapefruit with a hint of skin tannin. Good, everyday drinking.

SEÑORÍO DE BOCOS – Roble 2021
Spicy, chocolate and vanilla palate complemented by a palate of plum and raspberry jam.