The Ribera del Duero has long been turning the heads of wine buyers across the UK wine trade for the sheer depth, diversity, quality and value for money wines its high altitude vineyards make, which seem to get better every year. But there are still huge opportunities for the region to grow its rightful market share of the overall Spanish wine category. It’s why Ribera del Duero is launching a new sampling initiative to give over 60 wineries the platform and the opportunity to showcase their wines to key UK buyers. Here’s how the campaign is going to work in the coming weeks.
If you are looking to widen and bring more quality to your Spanish wine portfolio here’s your chance to access and sample wines from some 62 wineries that are actively seeking distribution of their wines to the UK market.
The Ribera del Duero wine region is blessed with the combination of a continental climate and high altitude vineyards to create rich, fruity wines, crammed with freshness that are increasingly in tune with what is in demand in the UK wine market.
Its vines stretch along the banks of the Duero ranging in altitude from 720m to 1000m, ideal for growing Tempranillo, its signature grape variety (known locally as Tinta del País or Tinto Fino), that work so well in its diverse sandy clay, limestone, and rocky outcrops. It is this unique combination of climate, elevation, and soil types that help give a distinctive depth and structure to Ribera’s wines. Many of which come from vines that are over 80 years old.
But with yields kept very low across the board (at an average of 4,380 kilos per hectare), with grapes typically hand harvested, so many of its wines have yet to make it to the UK.
Which is what the new Ribera del Duero producers initiative is all about. The chance for 62 wineries to show the competitive UK market what it is they can offer and why their wines deserve a place on any discerning Spanish wine list.
The campaign gives UK buyers, from across the on and off-trades, the chance to visit a specially created microsite, featuring the wines from all the producers involved in the programme. From which they can then request samples to be sent out for them to taste and assess as well as take part in a series of virtual tastings in the coming weeks.
Many of the wines not only feature in Tim Atkin MW’s fourth annual Ribera del Duero report, featuring his selection of Ribera’s Top 100 wines, but they score over 90 points. Atkin has become one of the most respected world critics on the region. An area, that he says, continues to open up new surprises for him every year thanks to the quality – “particularly from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 vintages – and their diversity”.
As he says in the introduction to his 2020/21 report: “My selection reflects the move towards greater elegance in Ribera del Duero, as well as towards wines that are increasingly village and parcel specific. The fact that the 2016 and 2018 vintages – both cooler, more ‘Atlantic’ affairs – dominated my selection was no accident. Those are my kind of years. But, whatever the vintage conditions, Ribera del Duero is capable of enormous diversity – a diversity that deserves to be recognised.
“A wine region that has that winning combination of heritage and tradition, with, a quarter of its vines planted before 1982 and 817 hectares before 1920, but that is still evolving every year, he adds.
How to take part
Anyone taking part in the sampling initiative will be able to use the specially created microsite to research each producer through their individual profile, with each of their wines featuring its own technical sheet and ex-cellar prices. Buyers can then order samples directly from organisers, Westbury Communications.
Beth Willard, ex-Spanish buyer for Direct Wines and an expert on the region, says she is pleased to see such a concentrated focus being placed on giving wineries looking for distribution in the UK such a unique platform: “Ribera is one of the great wine regions of Spain and some of its top wines are gaining much deserved praise in the UK market. In addition to the top classic references, there are newer entrants to the market which display the exciting freshness and intensity of better vineyard sites, altitude, excellent viticultural practices and less reliance on oak. A lot of these wines are premium in price but the quality demands that these wines sit at this level.”
Enrique Pascual, chairman of the Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Ribera del Duero, explains why it is introducing this new sampling initiative: “We have hosted numerous virtual tastings recently and the comments about the wines and their place in the UK market have been really positive. Increasing numbers of agents and retail buyers are reporting a much greater interest in Ribera so we are hopeful of finding homes for all of these wineries.”
- Buyers can access the microsite here to see the full list of wineries seeking distribution. If you would like to request a sample then email Sue Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Over the coming weeks The Buyer will be showcasing each of the producers taking part in a series of dedicated mailers, with details on how to take part and get samples to try their wines.