Bodegas Neo Punta Esencia 2001
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A brilliant effort from 80-year old Tempranillo vines, aged 20 months in new French oak, and bottled without filtration, Fernandez has hit the bull’s eye with the impressively endowed 2001 Neo Punta Esencia. More similar to a Bordeaux first or second-growth than a Spanish Ribera del Duero, it boasts an inky/ruby/purple color as well as a sensational perfume of espresso roast, graphite, black currant liqueur, and pain grille. Full-bodied and youthful, tasting more like a barrel sample than a finished wine, it is loaded with potential and built for the long haul. My instincts suggest cellaring it for 2-3 years, and drinking it over the following 10-15.
Inky dark, with coconut, baking spice and leather on the otherwise fruity nose. There's a lumber yard's worth of oak here, but overall it works. The spice element is undeniable, while the quality of the fruit supercedes any raw wood quality. A bit simple and forward, but nothing to take issue with.
Out of curiosity, the boys at Bodegas Neo acquired their own vineyard. It has an estimated age of 70 years, and a step towards their goal, to have the best grapes.
Notoriously food-friendly, long-lasting and Spain’s most widely planted grape, Tempranillo is the star variety of red wines from Rioja and Ribera del Duero. The Rioja terms Joven, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva indicate both barrel and bottle time before release. Traditionally blended in Rioja with Garnacha, plus a bit of Mazuelo (Carignan) and Graciano, the Tempranillo in Ribera del Duero typically stands alone. Somm Secret—Tempranillo claims many different names depending on location. In Penedès, it is called Ull de Llebre and in Valdepeñas, goes by Cencibel. Known as Tinta Roriz in Portugal, Tempranillo plays an important role in Port wine.
Ribera del Duero, Spanish wine region, is located in northen Spain’s Castilla y León region, just a 2-hour drive from Madrid. While winemaking in this area goes back more than 2000 years, it was in the 1980s that 9 wineries applied for and were granted Denominación de Origen (D.O.) status. Today, more than 300 wineries call Ribera del Duero home, including some of Spain’s most iconic names.
Notable Facts Ribera’s main grape variety, Tempranillo, locally know as Tinto Fino, is perfectly suited to the extreme climate of the region, where it must survive scorching summers and frigid winters. Low yields resulting from conscientious tending to old vines planted in Ribera’s diverse soils types, give Ribera wines a distinctive depth and complexity not found in other Tempranillos. Rich and full-bodied, the spice, dark fruit and smoky flavors in a bold Ribera del Duero will pair well with roasted and grilled meats, Mexican food and tomato-based sauces.