- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bodegas Arrocal, “Arrocal,” Ribera del Duero, 2004, $16

Ribera del Duero is one of the most exciting wine regions in what is arguably the most exciting wine country in the world today — Spain.

After many decades of being a somewhat sleepy backwater, Spain now has burst onto the global wine scene with a bevy of thrilling wines that respect native tradition and evidence contemporary character. Vintners in many regions are crafting excellent wines, with those from Ribera del Duero leading the way.

Tempranillo, Spain’s most prized indigenous grape variety, is Ribera’s pride and joy, and this young, supple red from Bodegas Arrocal is made from 100 percent tempranillo.

It displays rich, lush flavors that echo ripe red fruits, but a soft, seductive texture and a long, slightly sweet finish. A hint of oak adds complexity, but unlike some more old-fashioned Spanish reds, the wood does not overwhelm the taste of the grape.

This wine should drink well for a few years, but it’s not a candidate for extended cellaring, since exuberance and vivacity constitute its great charm. A good choice to accompany grilled meats — especially pork, veal, or poultry — it would be right at home at a Memorial Day barbecue. (Imported by Grapes of Spain.)

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