Wine marketing departments like to throw the word "bold" around a bit loosely these days. For the 2017 Valderiz from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain, it's a fitting descriptor. It's both intense in flavor and mouthfeel, with an extra-full body, and can stand up to the bolder flavors of the grill. After giving it time to open up, the wine has concentrated dark-fruited flavors including blackcurrant, plum cordial, plenty of creamy vanilla, and subtle woodsy spice, but stops short of being too sweetly fruited. There is also plenty of mouth-filling, grippy tannin from the glass-staining skin extract and oak, and though it softens up a bit with air, this feature is a plus with protein-rich dishes. What really separates this from the average big and bold wine out there is the level of depth, and that the components all work together harmoniously.
Coming from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain, the star of this wine is the local version of Tempranillo called Tinta del Pais, with thicker skins compared to the types found in Rioja. The differences feel appropriate in its home on the plateaus above the Duero river valley in central Spain, where the moderating Mediterranean influence has given way to a more dramatic continental climate.
The dry sunny summers make it easier for Bodega Valderiz to farm organically (they don't use any systematic synthetic pesticides, fungicides, or fertilizers). The wines are fermented with the native yeast and they don't add enzymes to help the process along, contrary to conventional commercial winemaking. Neither filtered nor fined, the taming of this wine comes the old-fashioned way: through 2 years of aging in French and American oak barrels.
Although Bodega Valderiz was founded in 1997, winemaking is a family tradition involving at least 7 generations. Tomas Esteban was the one who decided to make a bigger business of it, and in 1980 started to seriously expand his vineyard area using clippings from the family vineyards. When his sons were ready, they became the winemakers and Bodega Valderiz was officially born.
100% Tinto del Pais (Tempranillo)
WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "This full-bodied red is generous yet structured, featuring depth and balance. Ripe flavors of plum and currant mingle with cocoa, clove and mineral notes, supported by mouthcoating tannins and balsamic acidity. Harmonious and long. "
No artificial fertilizers or systematic chemical treatments in the vineyard. Fermented with indigenous yeast, with no additives such as acids, tannin, glucose, enzymes and so on. Aged in 80% French, 20% American oak (60% new, 40% once used).