Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bodegas Emilio Moro

In addition to Colorado wine, Spanish wine is at the top of my list for having high quality for a reasonable price. I also happen to greatly enjoy wines made from the Tempranillo grape. The two most important regions where Tempranillo is grown are Rioja and Ribera del Duero. While I have enjoyed most wines from Rioja for a while now, I have a more recent fondness for Ribera del Duero due to the similarities between this region and Colorado's wine country. Both Ribera del Duero and Colorado are home to each country's highest vineyards and have continental climates that allow hot growing seasons that have large daily temperature fluctuations and cold winters that sometimes cause problems for vineyard managers.

Last summer, my wife and I had the opportunity to explore Ribera del Duero and visit a few of the most prestigious wineries. While there, we visited Bodegas Emilio Moro with export director Barbara de Miguel. Bodegas Emilio Moro is a family-owned winery that has been making wine from Tinto Fino (the local name for Tempranillo) in Ribera del Duero for more than 120 years. They own over 170 acres of vines in and around the town of Pesquera de Duero. Emilio Moro and its sister winery, Bodegas Cepa 21, produces a series of 100% Tinto Fino wines. If you are interested in learning about Tempranillo, I suggest that you find some of these wines to explore how different the grape can taste from one region! We met Barbara in the tasting room, where photos of Tom Cruise and David Beckham posing behind the bar adorned the walls along with other Spanish celebrities and royalty. She led us on a tour of the bottling facilities and the barrel room. We then retreated to a second tasting room in the loft overlooking the barrels. After tasting a few of the 2009 releases, Babara called their sister winery, Bodegas Cepa 21, to set up a lunch for us.

We drove to the new and very modern winery just a few kilometers east of Pesquera surrounded by 124 acres of Tinto Fino vines. The wines are designed to be modern in style with bold aromatics and fruit dominating a soft palate. Currently, Cepa 21 produces two wines. We ordered some of the Cepa 21 wine that we had just tasted with Barbara, ate some fantastic jamon as an appetizer before our lunch as we sat next to the large glass wall overlooking the field of Tempranillo vines soaking up the sun.

Recently, I also had the opportunity to meet with Barbara at an event in Denver during her first trip to the United States and taste the 2010 releases. We enjoyed the late-summer weather while eating paella and drinking wonderful Spanish wine on a downtown Denver rooftop patio.

2008 Hito, Ribera del Duero, Spain
This deep yet bright purple wine offers a clean nose of red fruits with floral notes. It spends only 8 months in used French oak. Raspberries, cedar and dried violets meld with fine tannins to create a good easy-drinking wine that can be enjoyed by itself or with food. Sample (retail $20). Good (tasted 9/13/10)

2007 Cepa 21, Ribera del Duero, Spain
The flagship wine of this new winery is a slight step up from the Hito. The wine spends 14 months in a blend of 85% new French barrels and 15% used American oak. The Cepa 21 is a slightly darker color than the Hito. It shows more darker fruits and a bit of nice minerality. You can tasted dark dried red fruits and a hint of leather mixed in with a more complex tannin structure. Sample (retail $26). Good (tasted 9/13/10)

2007 Emilio Moro Resalso, Ribera del Duero, Spain
This entry-level offering is perhaps my favorite as far as quality to price ratio. The reddish purple juice releases a very floral and fruity bouquet. The simple fruit flavors on the palate are complemented with a spicy earthiness, tart acidity and light tannins. While not an overly complex wine that will make you scratch your head, this wine is a bit more Old World the those from Cepa 21. Sample (retail $17). Good (tasted 9/13/10)

2006 Emilio Moro, Ribera del Duero, Spain
This step up from the Resalso is definitely a fine example of Tinto Fino. The color is more dark than purple and the aromas on the nose are complex. A good amount of acidity is balanced by dark fruits, a concentrated earthiness and dried leather. This wine demands food more than the previous three but still is quaffable in its own right. Sample (retail $28). Very Good (tasted 9/13/10)

2007 Emilio Moro Malleolus, Ribera del Duero, Spain
Now we're getting into the big bold triad of Emilio Moro's ultra-premium wines. Concentrated and complex fruit aromas along with lavender and rosemary emanate from this big deep-purple wine. The Malleolus is like a velvet balance beam of high acidity and dense tannins. Prounounced spice and earth match the dark fruit flavors. Sample (retail $65). Very Good (tasted 9/13/10)

2007 Emilio Moro Malleolus de Valderramiro, Ribera del Duero, Spain
The cream of the crop. This single-vineyard wine is from the oldest 11 acres of vines owned by the estate. The blackish/purple wine gives off a complex bouquet of of deep, dark fruits followed by a slight scents of sweetness. The Valderramiro tastes of freshly brewed mocha espresso combined with blueberry and blackberry jam with a dusting of herbes de Provence and graphite. This wine is a tightly-wrapped little boxed gift that will require at least 5-10 years before it will be ready to unwrap its complex and powerful personality. Sample (retail $189). Very Good/Excellent (tasted 9/13/10)

2007 Emilio Moro Malleolus de Sanchomartin, Ribera del Duero, Spain
The other sacred cow produced by Emilio Moro. This wine is more powerful and aromatic than the Valderramiro but also shows a bit more alcohol on the nose and palate. The same rich dark fruits, spices and pencil lead flavors are present but with the addition of a roses. Another complex and powerful wine that needs time but that is slightly less balanced than the Valderramiro at present. Sample (retail $209). Very Good (tasted 9/13/10).


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