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05 September 2015

Spain: Ribera del Duero, Emilio Moro & Cepa 21

Valderramiro vineyard from www.facebook.com/EmilioMoroWinery
Based in Pesquera de Duero alongside other 'famous' names such as Vega Sicilia, Bodegas Emilio Moro was founded by current head José Moro's grandfather. Their vineyards are found on the western side of the Ribera del Duero D.O zone, “the highest appellation in Spain,” according to José. Here the terrain is characterised by chunky stones on top of chalk and clay soils, and the climate enjoys “an annual average temperature of 12.3 degrees centigrade.” These 'average' figures never sound very warm, but remember this region is a high-altitude plateau – some of Moro's vineyards run up to 900 metres above sea level (almost 3000 feet) – where often very hot summers are toned down by cool nights and cold winters. It's dry too with half as much rainfall as say Bordeaux.
José said the family “didn't uproot in the mid 20th century (implying others did), so we now have old vineyards and the best clone,” of the Tinto Fino variety, bedrock of Ribera reds, the “original and purest clone of Tempranillo he believes, which they've always taken selections from in the field to cultivate and propagate. Tinto Fino is marked by “looser bunches and smaller berries” than Tempranillo found elsewhere in Spain. They don't irrigate vineyards and “try to be as organic as possible although I don't want the label,” José added, and that “social responsibility” is an important part of his business philosophy while talking about water use and “supporting people.” More @ www.emiliomoro.com.

Finca Resalso 2013 (4 months in French & American oak) – The name comes from an old vineyard although this is made from their youngest vines (5 to 12 years old). Nice pure floral cherry and berry nose, attractive youthful fruit with a bit of oomph, quite soft and easy mouth-feel with fair weight though, drinking nicely now with its pure fruit and spice combo. €7.30
Emilio Moro 2011 (12 months in French & American oak) – From 12 to 25 year-old vineyards, 2011 is considered a “very good vintage.” Much deeper with intense black fruits, powerful and firm vs concentrated dark fruit, solid yet supple tannins, fair kick but lovely fruit with subtle oak backdrop. Tight long and powerful, needs more time to come together fully. €16.10
Cepa 21 2009 (12 months in French & American oak) – Selected fruit from their highest vineyards. More savoury and developed tobacco notes, lush and extracted but again with fine tannins, firm and fresh even vs weight and nice concentrated maturing fruit. Bigger more solid wine with tighter structure vs tasty maturing fruit and textured tannins. €15.30
Malabrigo 2010 (18 months in French oak, more new wood) – From certain plots on north-facing slopes, only 5000 bottles made. Dark and rich, fair amount of aromatic coconut and chocolate oak vs lush and concentrated, extracted yet supple and intense palate with tight bite and grip still vs lots of fruit, textured dry vs rounded tannins. Still showing a lot of oak but it's not OTT for this big wine that needs a few years to open up, very powerful but well made. €49
Malleolus de Valderramiro 2009 (long maceration, 18 months in new French oak) – 7000 bottles made from three plots planted in 1924, low yields. Maturing balsamic nose with lovely liquorice, cherry and chocolate notes vs savoury meaty flavours, concentrated and powerful with softer tannins and very subtle oak, drinking well but promises more with its dark vs meaty profile, again has nice dry vs sweet tannins. €86

Euro prices above are cellar door to give you an idea. UK importer is C and D Wines. In Ireland: 64 Wine, Black Pig Wines, Blackrock Cellar, Clontarf Wines, O'Briens, Redmond's of Ranelagh, Wicklow Wine Co. and various restaurants in Dublin. For importers in North America and worldwide - follow web link above.

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