Ribera del Duero is known for its Tempranillo grape-based red wines, which range from fruity and accessible to complex and powerful. Common flavours include black cherry, blackberry, bay leaf, brown sugar, and dried fig. Ribera del Duero must contain 75% Tempranillo, and while some wines might be 100% Tempranillo based, you’ll often find Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Garnacha grapes blended in.
You’ll find 3 classifications of Ribera del Duero, to which we’ll explain and best match to food pairings.
Crianza Ribera del Duero
If you spot Crianza on the label, this means the wine was aged at least 12 months in oak barrels and are released 2 years after harvest. Here you will find fruity reds that are perfect with lighthearted fare, such as Tapas.
Crianza Ribera del Duero and Chorizo Sausage
A young, bright, and fruity Ribera del Duero offers the perfect counterpoint when pitted against the spiciness, saltiness and fattiness of Chorizo. Chorizo is often never eaten alone, but rather it’s an ingredient in many Tapas dishes. Being so light and food-friendly, a Crianza Ribera del Duero should hold up to a wide variety of ingredients.
Reserva Ribera del Duero
Reserva Ribera del Duero also spends at least 12 months in oak barrels, but are released 3 years after harvest. Expect a fruity red with an earthy or anise edge. This makes Reserva Ribera del Duero perfect with hearty stews, grilled game, and casseroles. If the wine is mature, and has softer tannin, Reserva Ribera del Duero is a good match with Beef Tenderloin.
Reserva Ribera del Duero & Grilled Venison
Reserva Ribera del Duero has an earthy and toasty component that makes it perfect with the rich, smokey, and earthy notes of grilled Venison. The balanced tannin and acidity in this red wine will ensure it will stand up to the fat and protein content in this hearty dish. This is important as you want to taste both the wine and the meat on the finish of each bite.
Reserva Ribera del Duero will also provide a velvety mouthfeel, and the concentrated black cherry and blackberry flavours will showcase the wild taste of Venison we all love.
Gran Reserva Ribera del Duero
Gran Reserva Ribera del Duero must spend at least 24 months in oak barrels, and aren’t sold until 5 years after harvest. So a typical Gran Reserva will see 2 years in oak, then an additional 3 years of ageing in the bottle. This is not a wimpy wine, and you can expect concentrated dark fruit flavours, leather, tobacco, licorice, herbs, vanilla, and cocoa.
Gran Reserva Ribera Del Duero are often expensive due to their powerful and concentrated flavours. Best served with hearty dishes, you’ll find the grippy tannin and tart acidity are perfectly paired with roasted lamb shoulder, grilled beef or grilled game.
Gran Reserva Ribera del Duero & Roasted Lamb Pairing
Lamb shoulder is a rich and fatty cut of meat, full of intense flavours. Thus it requires a hefty wine, like a Gran Reserva Ribera Del Duero to hold up to it. The dark fruit flavours and balance of tannin and acidity in this red wine impart toasty note flavours that love the roasted lamb flavours. The fruit flavours also help mask the gaminess of lamb that not everyone loves, while elevating the earthier components of the roasted meat that we are drawn to.