Spotlight on Spain: Alonso del Yerro 2005
Whereas last post’s Alejandro Fernandez is by now an old hat in Ribera del Duero, Alonso del Yerro is a baby in the region. It also represents some of the new international influences entering the region, with Bordeaux based consultant Stephane Derenencourt making the wines (the other one being the famous Pingus, started by a Dane). This international influence can be experienced in the wine itself, which is made in a more modern and international style than the Condado, but without sacrificing its Spanish roots.
This influx of development in Ribera del Duero has also led to an influx of vine cuttings brought in from elsewhere: many of the new plantings are not of the native Tempranillo, but of clones from other regions. This, of course, has an impact on quality, and many critics believe that plantings made with these clones are less than ideal. The now impressive reputation of Ribera del Duero has also led to an influx of cult wines and wineries that try to establish their reputation within a vintage. We’ve seen before how big scores from the likes of Robert Parker can make an unknown winery into an international sensation, with massive price increases to boot.
The trick with Ribera del Duero is knowing which producers are gouging, and which are staying more honest in their pricing. For me, the Pesquera wines have always been very fairly priced. This wine, while still of exceptional quality, is definitely creeping up a bit high in price for my liking (although nothing compared to Pingus or Aalto).
The wine pours a pure dark red, and offers a modern-styled nose of dark plum, cassis, cedar and spice box. The palate again is modern with a lot of fruit – blackberry, cassis, really ripe tomato and some spice and wood. Good hefty tannins round out the texture and mouthfeel, which is powerful and clean. This is an excellent example of how a wine can be modern and fruity but also balanced and rounded out with secondary flavours to compliment the fruit, and how a modern wine can retain typicity. For me, typicity and regionality are the only way that modern wines work, and this is a great example.
$50 at Everything Wine