Bodega y Vinedos Cillar de Silos, Flor de Silos, DO Ribera del Duero, Castilla y Leon, Spain, 2012
This DO is for reds and rose only, lying at about 800m altitude, on complex soils. A continental climate, and in high summer the diurnal variation can reach 20C. The wines show plenty of acidity, intense colour, fruit and flavours. Irrigation is common – to maintain quality. Vega Sicilia was the vanguard producer, demonstrating that fine wine could be made here, others have followed. Some producers blend from different vineyards, to create complexity from the undulating landscape with varying exposures. Permitted varieties in the blend are tempranillo (aka tinta fina or tinta del pais) at least 75%, with cabernet sauvignon, grenache, malbec and merlot, and the white albillo. Ageing regs are as for Rioja. Elevation to DOC was proposed, but nobody wanted it.
This wine: varietal pre-phyloxera tempranillo (poor soils with a high sand content at > 60%), 18 months in French oak, bottle no.3152, natural cork closure, 14.5% abv, BBR, £47 (05/16)
Consumer tasting note: a strong nose of ripe black cherry, spice, liquorice and sweet tobacco; full-bodied with well carried high alcohol, on the palate concentrated black fruits, toasty, with spice, coconut and liquorice. A long length with lots of black cherry and liquorice, all edged with coconut. Decant for 20 minutes.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity purple, showing tears.
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of slightly high-toned ripe black cherry, vanilla edge, toasty, sweet oak, black liquorice, floral touch of violets, black berry, sweet tobacco, dried red berries, warm leaf humus.
Palate: dry, high acidity, ripe fine-grained medium tannins, high alcohol, full body, pronounced intensity, a smooth texture, with flavours of black cherry, edge of blackcurrant, black plum, toast, sweet tobacco, touch of coconut, spicy red plum jam. A long length, with a clean lightly grippy black cherry-liquorice edged with touches of ripe red berry and coconut finish.
Quality: outstanding, fresh acidity and fine-grained medium tannins are a foil to the high alcohol, all perfectly in balance with the intense and concentrated palate; well-integrated oak with initially low-key toastiness which, with time, strengthens on the nose, with edges of spice; strongly concentrated and showing moderate complexity from time in oak and bottle – but still showing a purple hue; follows into the expected long length.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: can drink now, but has potential for further ageing, over say 2-5 years.