Barco de Piedra Tempranillo 2016
Heady smoke- and spice-accented dark berry and cherry aromas, with hints of game and violet emerging with air. Broad and fleshy on entry, then tighter in the middle, offering gently sweet blackberry and cherry flavors and repeating smokiness. Shows very good heft and power on the clinging finish, which features smooth tannins and a hint of peppery spices.
Pork and veal have an essentially sweet “bass note” that is complimented nicely by Tempranillo's sweet nature, so these meats pair extremely well with Barco de Piedra. Unlike most Riojas, which tend toward softer strawberry and red fruits, Ribera del Dueros are some of the most robust reds from Spain, usually showing a black fruit, mineral and “meaty” character that many people feel is a better match with beef steak than any California Cabernet or Zinfandel. For simple fare, aged hard cheese like manchego, jamon iberico, Spanish almonds, Sevilla olives and crusty bread are exceptional accompaniments for this wine.
Barco de Piedra is a joyous affirmation of the beauty and purity of the Tempranillo grape as it is grown in the Ribera del Duero DO. The noble Tempranillo, called Tinto Fino or Tinta del Pais by locals, has suffered from producers who like to use excessive “make up,” too much new oak or winemaking technique, which obscures the identity of the grape. The logic behind Barco de Piedra is simple: the Tempranillo grape grown in Ribera del Duero has plenty of tannins, you don’t need to add more, which is precisely what oak ageing will do. The grape’s thick skin naturally produces powerful, robust wines packed with flavor. Adding more power and oak to something already powerful is overkill. The climate conditions of cool nights, low rainfall and great old vines taken together produce small berries with a high skin-to-juice ratio. The three parcels that produce grapes for Barco de Piedra are located on the hillside of the Quiñón Estate, a location with a special equilibrium of temperature, drainage and soil type. Raspberry and violet aromas with rose petal, blueberry and mineral notes make this wine one of the prettiest examples of the elegance and structure of Ribera del Duero, one of the great wine regions of the world.