Cellar Treasure: 2009 Tinto Figuero Ribera del Duero

A friend visited recently, whose grandparents came from Spain. They had fled Spain in the 1930s to escape from the revolution there, and thought they had found a safe haven in Cuba.

Well, we all know what happened next. His family fled Cuba to escape from that revolution, and ended up (like so many others) in Miami. My friend was born in Miami. We share a few things in common; a former employer, love for our region of the world, and a deep appreciation for Spanish wines.

Several years ago we made a bargain: he brings the steaks, and I’ll serve up the best Rioja he would ever taste, specifically my last bottle of 2001 Viña Olabarri Gran Reserva.

He was here a few nights ago, and we drank that, and a 1964 Rioja I’ve had in my cellar as well. It was a good night.

But as often happens with me once I’m in a groove, it’s hard to get out. Last night I was grilling a pepper-crusted pork tenderloin and was thinking of what I would pair it with from the cellar. I went to the wine cooler and dug around in the Spanish section and found a ten year old Ribera del Duero. Perfect!

I uncorked it and was immediately happy with the choice. Delicious and delightful! I’ve always said Spanish Tempranillos seem to really come into their own around ten years in. This one is no exception. Light nose. Wonderful ruby color. Amazing with the pork with it’s strong pepper flavor. Silky smooth mouthfeel from the wine, with a long oaky finish.

Looking at my notes I see that I purchased this as a single bottle about four years ago. I must have been the only one available, as it has a “CLEARANCE” sticker on it with a price tag of $21.98. Can’t beat that!

A Napa Valley wine of this quality would cost triple digit dollars.

I note that I have four bottles of a later vintage from the same bodegas in the cooler. They should be ready to go in a few years. Stay tuned…

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