As the calendar year creeps towards an end, there are a few guarantees: Holiday fever sinks in, there are plenty of parties, and year-end wine lists hit the shelves (or, more likely, your inbox).
Like clockwork, the 2017 lists have arrived, and just like in past years, Ribera del Duero and Rueda have earned some love from various wine publications and critics. Just like we were doing a tasting, let’s start with white, shall we?
Earning a staggering 96 points and landing at #19 on Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines of 2017, the Valderiz 2014 Juegabolos won the adoration of the magazine’s critics thanks to: “Toasty aromas suggest maple, along with a note of sawdust to accompany earthy berry scents. A rich, pure palate is intense but shows balance and comportment. Blackberry, cassis, peppery spice and integrated oak flavors are detailed, with a smooth finish. Drink this full-bodied wonder through 2028.”
Wine Enthusiast’s Best Buys of 2017 list is a must-read for any wine lover looking to find the needle in the ever-important QPR — quality to price ratio — haystack. Sure, you can drop $200 on a bottle and have it drink beautifully, but what about finding a $13 gem that you can drink guilt-free any night of the week? According to Wine Enthusiast’s list, the 12 Linajes 2015 Verdejo is just that, landing at number 83 on the 2017 list because, as they say: “This Verdejo hits the sweet spot, with a crisp nose focused on green-apple aromas. The palate has a free-flowing feel and well-presented flavors of apple, peach and melon. An easy-fading finish ends this well.”
Now, on to the reds. Emilio Moro has both pedigree as well as a reputation for quality within Ribera del Duero, which is why their 2015 Tempranillo finds itself at #59 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2017 list. Critic Tom Matthews says in his tasting notes: “Black cherry, red plum and currant flavors are fresh and lively in this firm red, backed by dark chocolate, licorice and toasty notes. Light, firm tannins and citrusy acidity keep this focused. Drink now through 2023.”
Meanwhile, James Suckling fell head over heels for two of the most legendary wines in Ribera del Duero, as the Dominio de Pingus 2014 and Vega Sicilia Unico 2006 both made his Best Wines of 2017 list. If you’re looking for a year-end splurge and can get your hands on a bottle of either of those, consider your year made.
Speaking of Vega Sicilia, their 2002 Unico Reserva Especial found its way on wine-rating app Vivino’s 2018 Wine Style Awards compilation, averaging 4.7 out of 5 stars for the community of wine lovers. Also on the list is Aalto PS 2006, which fared nearly as well with a 4.6 rating. In order for wines to make Vivino’s list, they “had to have a minimum of 50 ratings given during the past 12 months” … and then wine democracy spoke for itself.
Cheers to 2017, and here’s looking to all of the wines ahead in 2018!