Tim Atkin’s “Ribera del Duero 2021 Special Report”
Tim Atkin, besides being a prestigious Master of Wine, is an enthusiast who doesn’t just rate the wines he tastes. Behind the Atkin scores there is an exhaustive work that gives us an in depth look at the characteristics of a wine region so we can understand how the personality of each wine is shaped, the qualities it shares with other wines from the area and the features that make it unique.
Tim Atkin has now released his 2021 Special Report on Ribera del Duero. An interesting report that is the result of the Master of Wine’s interaction with the area’s winemakers and winegrowers, some in-depth documentation, meeting vineyards and people to discover new projects with a lot to offer, as well as tasting wines from different vintages to find out how they have developed in the bottle.
537 wines from 149 Ribera del Duero winemakers, resulting in a Top 100 made up of wines with more than 94 points.
Tim Atkin uses his report to celebrate this exciting moment in the history of Ribera del Duero, a region he predicts will enjoy a future with a greater international presence for its wines, which he describes as magnificent.
The Master of Wine invites people who think Ribera del Duero only produces very powerful or very alcoholic wines, to give the ones in his Top 100 a chance, because these are wines with personality, expression of terroir and pure fruit. Exemplary wines for a wide range of prices that are high profile and great quality.
Although Ribera del Duero is widely recognised for its red wines made from the region’s leading grape, Tempranillo (Tinto Fino), Tim Atkin recognises the importance of Albillo, a white variety that is becoming increasingly important in the region, while also acknowledging the great quality of the rosé wines that are made in an interesting variety of ways. Very different but highly recommended wines.
We love Tim Atkin for his enthusiasm and for the great work he does to popularise wines. Here are just a few hints towards the contents of his 2021 Special Report on Ribera del Duero, a very interesting read that you can purchase in full on his website.
In his report, Tim Atkin includes a feature where he pays tribute to wineries and winegrowers, and here are 4 recommendations from that feature.
1.- Winemakers of the year, José Félix and Noelia Callejo of Bodegas Félix Callejo
92 Atkin Points
Parajes de Callejo is part of a very impressive range created by Noelia and José Félix Callejo, who Tim Atkin names “the winemakers of the year” in his report. This wine comes from four different plots where vines grow between 890 and 930 metres above sea level. Parajes de Callejo is a brilliant wine, full of vitality, with a good amount of fruit and excellent acidity that promises a long life of up to 10 years.
2.- Winemaking legend, Mariano García, from Aalto and Garmón Continental
94 Atkin Points
Mariano García has earned his place as this year’s Winemaking Legend in Tim Atkin's Special Report on Ribera del Duero, a title he has more than earned thanks to his impeccable career as a winemaker whose time at major wineries like Vega Sicilia has not gone unnoticed. Mariano García is the man behind Aalto, which is made with grapes from 200 plots from 30 suppliers located in 9 villages in Ribera del Duero. An exquisite red wine that is full of aromas, mature and very well structured, with soft tannins and an elegant presence of wood from its aging. Aalto 2019 promises great satisfaction and great aging.
3.- Cooperative of the year, Bodegas Protos
Protos 27 pays tribute to the year Protos was founded, the first winery to set up in Ribera del Duero and which Tim Atkin has named Cooperative of the Year. Protos 27 was first made in 2015 with grapes from vineyards over 50 years old. Despite its elegant label that suggests a traditional style, Protos 27 is an elegant, balanced, modern and very international wine. A red wine that thanks to its chalky freshness and minerality can age in the bottle until 2030.
4.- Rosé Wine of the Year
Bertrand Sourdais decided to try making a rosé wine of exquisite quality. It is so good that Sourdais calls it a “Grand Cru wine” and, according to Tim Atkin, its quality has earned it the title of Rosé Wine of the Year in his Special Report on Ribera del Duero.
Le Rosé is made with Tinto Fino and Albillo Mayor grapes from a pre-phylloxera plot planted at an altitude of 1,000 metres in 1905, where the soils are predominantly chalky, very similar to those found in Burgundy and Champagne. It couldn’t be more special. The result? A wine with an elegant pale pink colour, with a delicate perfume of strawberries and rose hips. The Le Rosé wine could certainly hold its own among the elite rosé wines.
After this brief but intense summary, we would recommend you continue your journey through the Ribera del Duero through its wines, different sizes and types of wineries, veteran winemakers and new generation projects, and discover why the Ribera del Duero continues to charm and surprise even the most knowledgeable.