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diaz bayoThis is a curve ball from the high plains north of Madrid. The first impression is a provocative whiff of herbaceousness—tarragon, with red plum and a hint of coffee peeking around the edge. An unusual aroma profile for Ribera Del Duero,  this is designated “roble” which means it was aged in wood for a period less than would earn it a quality ranking.

The upfront flavor intensity is promising but the hollow midpalate is a let down before a gravel and acid explosion launches the medium length finish of dried herbs and hints of charred wood. This is a rustic wine with swollen but sour acidity, and medium grain tannins that bark but don’t bite. A good value but don’t expect subtlety or elegance.

Lots of animated energy in this wine, gritty, ardent but blunt and impetuous, the kind your mama warned you about. Locked in rhythm with Steve Earle’s The Devil’s Right Hand

Technical notes: 100% Tempranillo from 30 yr. old, high elevation vineyards on clay, marl, and limestone. Aged for 6 months in used French oak and 6 months in the bottle.

Score: 88

Price: $17 (purchase here)

Alc: 14%