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Bodegas Barco de Piedra Tempranillo 2011

Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
  • RP91
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Winemaker Notes

Organic viticulture; minimal oak ageing; a Ribera del Duero wine that shows depth and drinkability while young; an extraordinary value!

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.

Critical Acclaim

RP 91
The Wine Advocate

A sensational value from Ribera del Duero (which rarely produces interesting wines for under $25), the 2011 Barco de Piedra is 100% Tempranillo aged five months in a combination of French and American oak (85% and 15% respectively), all three-year-old used barrels. It exhibits notes of flowers, licorice, new saddle leather, black currants and cherries.

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Bodegas Barco de Piedra

Bodegas Barco de Piedra

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Bodegas Barco de Piedra, , Spain
Bodegas Barco de Piedra
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.

California

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Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production...

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Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredibly wide-ranging selection of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from boutique to massive corporations, and price and quality are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Coast area, while Napa is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.

Just about every style of wine you can imagine is made in California, from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. Each AVA and sub-AVA has its own distinct personality. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varieties dominate, as well as Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma County is best known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with Alsatian varieties such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, it is certain that any wine lover will find something to get excited about.

Chardonnay

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes...

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

Sommelier Secret

Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

CNC682082_2011 Item# 121088

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