The 2016 Diaz Bayo Ribera del Duero Roble is a purple, deep down, flavor packed Ribera del Duero that emanates from a high altitude vineyard above the mighty Duero River. Produced from 100% Tempranillo from a single 30 year old parcel of vines, Diaz Bayo’s Roble offers seductive aromas of cherry and mulberry mingled with hints of spice and a gentle infusion of mineral for added complexity. Expansive on the palate, the 2016 Diaz Bayo Roble unfolds in the mouth, offering rich fruit flavors, subtle spice tones and light tannins that accentuate the wine’s lovely fruit and seductive texture. Although traditional in style and capable of ageing for another five or six years, the youthful 2016 Diaz Bayo Roble drinks beautifully from the moment it splashes into the glass. However, 20-30 minutes of aeration prior to consuming will release this wine’s latent charms. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest serving Diaz Bayo’s charming Ribera del Duero Roble at cool room temperature (60°-64° F). Enjoy!
Diaz Bayo’s 2016 Ribera del Duero Roble pairs nicely with meats, cheeses, pastas and rich sauces. Beef, especially steak or pot roast, certainly has its place alongside this flavorful Ribera del Duero. Pepper Grilled Flank Steak with chimichurri, white bean poblano fritters and jicama slaw also makes a fine accompaniment to Diaz Bayo’s bold-flavored Ribera del Duero Roble. Other favorite accompaniments to this flavorful Tempranillo include Harissa Chicken, roasted free range chicken with Ajvar yogurt, Moroccan pearl couscous, and grilled eggplant and zucchini; country cassoulet; and traditional paellas made with chicken, shrimp and scallops. The paella might come as a surprise to some, but we have come to crave authentic paella with young Ribera del Duero. Tapas, the traditional “small dishes” that are featured appetizers in nearly all Spanish restaurants, also make fine companions. Duck, quail or pheasant confit and a white bean and shredded chicken dish with tomatoes, onions, and peppers provide tasty companions, too. For those who prefer contemporary American fare, pork or beef sliders also provide good company to Diaz Bayo’s Ribera del Duero Roble. If your culinary acumen is somewhat lacking, no need to worry, most cheeses will shine alongside a bottle of Diaz Bayo’s 2016 Roble.
The Díaz Bayo family have been perennial growers for more than ten generations in the village of Fuentelcésped, where viticulture dates to the 1100s and Spain’s Reconquest of the Duero Valley from the Moors. Ideal conditions for vines abound in and around Fuentelcésped along the Arroyo de la Nava, a high valley just ten miles to the southeast of modern-day Aranda de Duero, an area renowned for its full-bodied red wines. Here the Diaz Bayo estate comprises nearly 100 acres in multiple high elevation parcels ranging between 2,800 and 3,200 feet in elevation on soil types encompassing limestone, marl and clay. Varied soils and exposures further contribute to the vines’ fruit diversity and extended harvest times. The age of Díaz Bayo’s vines, the great majority old-clone Tinta del País (aka Tempranillo), ranges from 12 to 100 years, with the average being well over 50 years of age, resulting in bold, concentrated wines.
Viticulture at Díaz Bayo is organic. The modern bodega includes conical oak barrels, cement and steel tanks for fermentation of the estate’s distinct vineyard parcels, each according to the type of wine being produced. Barriques, primarily French oak from multiple producers, are also part of the equation. Extreme altitude and soil types combined with sensitive winemaking that expresses the deep minerality of the region’s soils lead to full-bodied, balanced wines.
Enologist Isaac Fernández divides Díaz Bayo’s production among three superb red wines, all offering excellent quality and value: Tinto Roble (this month’s feature) spends at least 6 months in barrique and an additional six months in bottle; Tinto Crianza, which enjoys a 12 month hiatus in barrique followed by 12 months in bottle before release; and the estate’s Tinto Reserva, with 20 months in barrique and an additional 24 months in bottle.
Located in the heart of Spain in the ancient realm of Castile and León, Ribera del Duero has been a center of wine production for thousands of years. Today, Ribera del Duero remains one of the most important wine regions in Spain, as it is the spiritual home of Tempranillo, Spain’s most venerable red grape variety and the source of many of Spain’s greatest wines. Here the iconic Tempranillo, also known locally as Tinto Fino and Tinta del País, reaches its pinnacle and demonstrates to the world its inherent virtue.
Ribera del Duero occupies the hills and high meseta to the northeast of the city of Valladolid and stretches out along the Duero River, Spain’s most beloved waterway. Not surprisingly, the region draws its name from the venerable Duero that plays an important role in the region’s terroir. The soil of Ribera del Duero bears more than a passing resemblance to that of France’s Burgundy, with a wide range of chalk, clay, marl and gravel, combined together in varying degrees of prominence. However, whereas Burgundy’s soil complexity results from plate tectonics, the soil in Ribera del Duero results from the Duero’s erosion through the sedimentary layers of the Castilian meseta. The Duero River may likely play a role as well in moderating the rather harsh continental climate of the region, an area known for its dry, hot summers and cold winters. Add altitude (2,500-3,300 feet) and the intense luminosity of the Spanish mesetato the region’s exemplary terroir, and it becomes apparent that Ribera del Duero possesses all the attributes needed to showcase the beauty of Spain’s quintessential grape variety.
Although Tempranillo provides heart and soul to nearly all the wines of Ribera del Duero, the Denominacion de Origen (DO) does permit small quantities of other grape varieties to appear in the appellation’s red wines, most notably Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Grenache. There is, however, no requirement that Ribera del Duero contain any grape other than Tempranillo. Consequently, there is no one magic formula. However, what is certain is that worldwide demand for the great wines of Ribera del Duero will continue to grow as the cadre of astute producers in the zone, like Diaz Bayo, continue to push the envelope on quality. Moreover, the relative value of the voluptuous red wines of Ribera del Duero are second to none. Allow the finest red wines of Ribera del Duero a few years in bottle and ample aeration prior to serving, and they will more than handsomely reward the patient imbiber.
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