Bodegas Arzuaga "Crianza" Ribera Del Duero 2017

Tempranillo|Ribera del Duero, Spain

Bodegas Arzuaga, owned and managed by the Arzuaga-Navarro family, is a rather newcomer to Ribera del Duero with about thirty-five vintages under their belt. Their property and location could not be more pristine – they lie very near to the riverbank of the noble Duero itself and a wide-ranging natural habitat for diverse flora and fauna. Their commitment to sustainability and to nature is as steadfast as their dedication to crafting world-class wine.

Crianza is one of the aging designations for Spanish wine; this cuvée aged for 16 months in barrel with just a splash (5%) of Cabernet Sauvignon adding deeper black fruit and leathery notes. In the glass, find a deep crimson color with ruby highlights and classic aromas of blue-black fruit, pipe tobacco, new leather, mesquite, macerated blue flowers, cigar box, and cocoa tones, leading into a smooth, long and polished palate and sensual, silky tannins. As befitting wines of this caliber, decant for 2-3 hours for maximum enjoyment. It drinks so well now but, even at first sip, one gets the sense of its longevity. Seamlessly intertwined fruit, tannin, and brooding mineral depth hint at a long life ahead – this gorgeous bottle will meet you in 2030 with glorious evolution.

The stag emblazoned on their bottle is emblematic of the diverse landscape in which they reside. Their proximity to the Duero river gives the dry-farmed vines access to deep water tables, providing sustenance in this dry, rugged climate. The best terroir of Ribera del Duero is its iconic, prehistoric limestone soils – these soils provide aromatic lift and singular acid structure to the finished wines. It blows my mind to imagine that these high-altitude vineyards (1300-feet-plus!) were once submerged by a shallow tropical sea some 30 million years ago. The vines are planted in the geologic remnants of this prehistoric ocean.

If you should ever be so lucky as to visit this bucolic, breathtaking region, Bodegas Arzuaga should be at the top of your list – their enoturismo and hospitality are world-class, and the natural habitat surrounding the estate is stunning. The New York Times named Arzuaga as one of the top 52 destinations worldwide to visit for good reason.

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