Home Winners > Winners 2014 > SPAIN: Duero Valley, including Rueda, Ribera del Duero

Winner Details

Spain: Duero Valley, including Rueda, Ribera del Duero 

2014: Gold 4 Silver 10 Bronze 3 Commended 5
2013: Gold 5 Silver 3 Bronze 5 Commended N/A
Must-list status: 35%
Overall SWA performance 2014: B-

With respect to the odd successful entry from Toro or Cigales, this year this part of the competition was all about Rueda for the whites and Ribera del Duero for the reds.

Stylistically, the whites were very definitely split into two camps: fresh, zesty, citrusy styles with bracing acidity that skittered like nervy greyhounds; and waxier, more yellow-fruited versions that waddled peaceably like Labradors. ‘They’re very accessible, but also very generic. If I didn’t know we were in Spain, I wouldn’t know where we were,’ mused Sandro Lyhs of Oxo Tower Bar.

As usual, we managed one white Gold here, and as usual it went to a wine under the crucial £9 cut-off, with the Montepedroso managing to move up from the Silver that the 2011 acquired last year.

The real excitement here, though, came in the reds, with a lot of very happy tasters. While there were a few oak bombs, a good number of wines showed more sensitive extraction and better tannin management than has typically been evident here in the past.

And like a shy child freed from the grip of an overbearing parent, once there wasn’t too much oak to boss it around, the sweetly soft flavours of the Tinta del Pais (Tempranillo) could finally show just how good they were at colouring-in.

The best wines (such as the impressive showing from Protos, which picked up four Silvers as well as a pair of Bronzes) did this at a price. But more surprising for many judges, given that this is a region best-known for the likes of Pingus, Pesquera and Vega Sicilia, was the quality at the lower end.

‘They were wines with a lot of modern appeal,’ said Coq d’Argent’s Olivier Marie. ‘Less traditional in character, but delivering very well and still with some ageing potential.’

FOOTNOTE: includes wines from Cigales & Toro.


Congratulations to Bodegas Larchago, which followed up its fabulously well-priced Albariño Gold (see North-West section) with another one here for its equally good value Ribera. How do they do it?

From the Tasting Teams

‘Customer perception is that these regions should offer an alternative to Rioja, and in many ways they do, delivering similar quality, but often at good prices. There were a lot of over-delivering wines here, and a lot of attractive wines with great potential for food pairing.’ Ignacio Campos, Hawksmoor Seven Dials

‘Ribera is a little like Amarone or Brunello in Italy; people expect top-end wines and to pay for top-end wines. But the quality at the high end was there in this flight.’ Olivier Marie, Coq d’Argent

‘They need to stop doing oaky extraction and do more with the fruit and the terroir.’ Lionel Periner, The Lucky Onion