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Ribera del Duero

File:DO Ribera del Duero.svg

A scenic two-hour drive north of Madrid brings you to the beautiful wine region of Ribera del Duero. The region received Denominación de Origen (DO) status in 1982. DO or Designation of Origin is part of a regulatory classification system primarily for Spanish wines and represents the country's highest quality produce. A semi-autonomous governing body comprising skilled, impartial members investigate the quality, ingredients and production process ensuring the wine attains specific quality levels. There are over 270 wineries bracketing the banks of the Duero River in a swath of land approximately 70 miles long and 22 miles wide. Approximately one-third of the vines planted on its 51,000 acres are over 50 years old, and 3% are over 100 years old. Most vines are planted at between 2,500 and 3,000 feet above sea level, and the region receives an impressive 2,400 hours of sunshine per year.

File:Close up of tempranillo grapes.jpgThe main grape variety in Ribera del Duero is Tempranillo, which also goes by Tinto del País and Tinto Fino. Tempranillo makes for deep-colored wines with moderate tannins with tasting notes ranging from strawberries, blackcurrants and cherries, to prunes and chocolate. The former three notes typically come from younger examples from cooler climates, while the latter two develop with increased vineyard heat and age.

The DO also allows for the use of Garnacha, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and the white grape, Albillo, in the blending process. The combination of climate, altitude, soil and winemakers' dedication creates wines that are simultaneously powerful and elegant.

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All images are sourced from Wikimedia Commons and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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