Ribera del Guadiana, sourcing amazing wine values in Spain


You do not need me to tell you that Spain produces some of the most amazing wine values in Europe and in the rest of the wine world. I am sure that readers of this blog already agree with me on this matter. It is a cliche and to a certain extent slowing down the progress of the premium wine market in Spain. There is Almansa, Campo de Borja, La Mancha and Ribera del Guadiana wine region which is the subject of my post. I used to drink lots of wine from this appellation when i was living in Spain.

According to Wines from Spain, Ribera del Guadiana is located in south west Spain and borders Portugal. It groups together six sub-zones in the region of Extremadura as detailed below.Tierra de Barros is the largest of the sub-regions and it is also setting the standards in terms of development. There are also Canamero, Matanegra, Montanchez, Ribera Alta and Ribera Baja.  Winemaking tradition go back to the  ancient inhabitants of the region such as the Celts and the Lusitani.  The wines of Extremadura were know in the time of Carlos V. In 1573 Luis de Toro wrote the comments of the king regarding the wines   “As well as a wide range of delicious grape varieties,  there is an abundance of sweet figs and numerous types of cherries to be enjoyed. The latter are extraordinarily large and tasty – red, black or a purple colour that’s similar to wine

The grape varieties here are quite eclectic and reflects the region’s location. Tempranillo dominates of course but there are no less than 29 varieties listed by the DO’s Consejo Regulador including local, Portuguese and Andalusian varieties.These are worth looking out for. For example, Interesting work is being done with local white grapes Cayetana, Pardina and Eva. This is quite a young appellation for Spanish standards. It was founded in 1999.

Ribera del Guadiana region is blessed with a clement weather and geography. The vines receive good sun exposure over the ripening period and the region’s clay and limestone soils are fertile due to the influence of the River Guadiana which flows through the region. This major water source, along with its tributaries, allows all kinds of agriculture to thrive alongside the vineyards including cereals, olives, cotton and cork.

At the moment, Ribera del Guadiana is better known for food than for wine as the region is home to some famous Spanish delicacies, namely pata negra ham – the king of Spanish ‘jamón’, and the highly prized soft torta del casar cheese. My wish for 2015 is that the region gets more known internationally.

The SAQ carries only one product from this little appellation in Spain. It is the Campobarro Tempranillo at $10.60 which is an obscene steal at that price range. I discovered this wine at the latest Raspipav edition. It is made by Bodegas San Marcos. They were there to present this wine plus other ones from their Campobarro range. San Marcos was founded in 1980 by a local group of winemakers in the prolific area “Tierra de Barros” of Ribera del Guadiana. They make over 14 dfferent wines and they are present in 35 international markets. By the way, the Spanish wine presence at Raspipav was low compared to their French and Italian peers.

The wines of Bodegas San Marcos are represented in Quebec by the Benedictus agency. All of the wines tasted with the exception of the Tempranillo are private imports


Campobarro Tempranillo 2013. $10.65.
Young vine tempranillo with no oak ageing. Just stainless steel

On the nose, a hint of candied red fruit with nuances of leather. In addition, floral undertones. In the mouth, good balance with a lovely cherry aftertaste. 80-85.

Seleccion 2009. $20.60
Aging in a mixture of american and french oak for 4 months. Tempranillo-Mazuelo blend

On the nose, concentrated ripe fruit with an earthy and floral profile. In the mouth, the wine has a good body with a good elegance and structure. Long Finale. 85-90.

Crianza 2007. $20.95
100% Tempranillo with 10 month american oak ageing
Ripe red fruits with some vanilla nuances. A hint of minerality. Excellent balance with lovely red berries flavours. 85-90

I do hope that we see more of Ribera del Guadiana presence in Canada. They are quite affordable wines with a high quality. I will head up to the SAQ and stock on the tempranillo joven for my house wine.