I don’t like Ribera del Duero. Their reputation for swashbuckling, swaggering reds has never impressed me. It is an appellation that in general doesn't acknowledge the tinto fino or tempranillo grape and instead looks to international varietals for notoriety. And the Ribera’s use of oak is just not as well integrated as in Rioja and overpowers and dominates the wine. You get the picture…
Needless to say, I was skeptical about trying Finca El Peruco from Goyo Garcia Viadero. But…I was floored. Here was a wine that completely challenged my preconceptions of one of Spain’s most famous regions. Here was a Ribera del Duero wine that had the sensibility and elegance of Burgundy: it was vibrant, floral and yet delicate with an elegant texture. The oak was wonderfully integrated, not dominating as it is with most wines from the region and pairs very well with food.
Garcia comes from a celebrated wine family: he and his sister, Yolanda, own Bodegas Valduero, one of the original wineries that was responsible for creating the Denominacion de Origen for the Ribera del Duero in the 1980s.
While he continues to make the wines that made Valduero still one of the most important wineries of the region, Garcia has broken away from the family business and is now much more focused on his own label that he created because he wanted to interpret tempranillo in a different way. And so far, I think he may have achieved his goal.
All of Garcia’s vineyards are located around the town of Roa, which it is said to have some of the best soil for winemaking and the oldest vines. Fina El Peruco is pulled from a single vineyard made up of 80+ year old tinto fino vines at 3000 feet. The vines are en vaso and Garcia says that he looks for acidity in the fruit rather than ripeness at the time of the vendimia. He also co-ferments with white grape varieties as has traditionally been done in the Ribera del Duero and other regions and uses only older barrels. The result is outstanding.
I would recommend pairing it with hearty meats, stews, and the traditional morcilla.
Goyo Garcia Viadero, Finca El Peruco, $70