Vizcarra Senda del Oro Roble

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Vizcarra Roble is an estate-bottled wine made by Bodegas Vizcarra. The most inexpensive wine made by this first-class bodega in the Ribera del Duero DO, Vizcarra Roble is a great value. With black fruit, mineral and violet characters, it shows solid and consistent quality every year. Vizcarra Roble has the complexity of a serious wine for a very reasonable price. In great vintages, this wine over-delivers due to the high quality of the fruit while in difficult years, a portion of Vizcarra's top wines Celia ($145/bottle) or Ines ($155) is put into the blend for Vizcarra Roble to ensure the wine maintains quality. Very little oak is used and all transfers of must or wine are by gravity. This cuvée showcases the youthful elegance of Ribera del Duero in a distinctive manner. Founded in 1991 by Juan Carlos Vizcarra, Bodegas Vizcarra has 26 hectares (64 acres) of vineyards in the towns of Mambrilla and Roa, in the northern central area of Ribera del Duero within Burgos province.

An elegant wine from Ribera del Duero. Made by gravity, it exhibits purity and balance. This is a low production wine; only 3,000 cases are made for the world. Juan Carlos Vizcarra is one of the pioneers of “garage winemaking” in Ribera.

2018 90+ WA, 2017 90WA, 2015 91VM; 2014 90Vinous; 2013 90IWC; 2012 90RP. 2011 93RP; 2010 90RP; 2009 90RP; 2006 90RP

100% Tempranillo (Tinto Fino). Vines planted in 1950-1998. Tended in limestone and sandy soil at 849 m (2,785 ft) elevation.

Pork and lamb, especially grilled or roasted, are ideal pairings for this wine, but beef, from steaks and roasts to more casual burgers, also works very well. If you like spices, this wine has the “stuffing” to stand up to Cajun or Midwestern BBQ and pulled pork, and it will go well with Greek gyros, Cuban ropa vieja and dishes with Mediterranean spices.

After selecting the best bunches, then the best berries, the grapes are de-stemmed and crushed. Maceration lasts 12-15 days during and after fermentation. Fermentation is carried out in stainless steel tanks and malolactic fermentation takes place in barrels. The wine is aged for six months in French and American oak barrels that are two years old. Relatively short ageing in used barrels allows the wine to oxygenate and become softer and rounder without the added wood tannins of new barrels. This method lets the wine retain its fresh, youthful fruit characters.

3,000 cases

The vineyards are located in the town of Mambrilla, at 849 meters (2,785 ft.) elevation. This town is in the northern central area of the Ribera del Duero DO (Zone 2), within the province of Burgos in Castilla y León. For soils, out of the eleven parcels farmed to make Vizcarra Roble, there is predominantly sand, clay, limestone and gravel. The vines in the eleven parcels were planted in 1987. This is uncommon for a wine at this price point and a key factor for this wine's quality. Juan Carlos reduces yields by thinning grape clusters from 20 to 8 per vine, and by allowing other foliage to flourish around the vines to absorb the potentially excessive water and nutrients from the soil. The area's climate has an average temperature from April-October of 60'F and the average annual rainfall is 18 inches. An extreme Continental climate, with cool nights and hot days with moderately low rainfall, provides a longer ripening period, and results in wines with greater complexity and more expressive, intense aromas. The temperatures at Vizcarra's vineyards are warmer than the neighboring bodega Torremorón and cooler than Hornillos Ballesteros-MiBal. Harvest usually begins the first week of October and ends by mid-month.

Ruby-red. Mineral-tinged raspberry, incense and floral pastille scents pick up a spicy accent with air. Juicy, sweet and seamless in texture, offering concentrated red fruit and spicecake flavors that put on weight as the wine opens up. The spice and floral notes carry through a long, energetic, focused finish shaped by silky, even tannins.-- Josh Raynolds.