One of the most intriguing wine regions in the world is the Ribero del Duero in Northern Spain at the source of the Duero River in the Cantabrian Mountains (so you won’t think TB is getting senile – he may be – he discussed part of this are in Vol. 1 No 110), which then flows south through Valladolid and into Portugal where it becomes the Douro, famous for centuries for Port wine growing. The major city of the region is Burgos, near the source. It then meanders down past Valladolid where the two most expensive Spanish wines hail from (Vega Secila and Pesquez), and dozens of other fine and reasonably-priced reds and just outside the boundaries of the appellation one of Spain’s best white wines is made, Rueda, a complex and beautiful wine.
The Duero then passes to the north of the university town of Salamanca and into Portugal where it becomes the Douro for the remainder of its 550 mile journey to the Atlantic. It is in Portugal that it becomes navigable and the Port growers used Daδ’s (small lateen-rigged sailboats) to transport the barrels down to the Port Lodges near the sea across from the beautiful town of Porto (I just learned that there are 8 day river cruises up the Douro and the views look incredible).
While TB loves Port (just as he does Pedro Ximénez sherries and Madeira’s), our interest here is on the unknown Reds that come from here (and slightly above it the whites called Albarinho’s which are labeled Vinho Verde – the only similarity to the old Vinho’s is the name as the quality is equal to Albariño’s and they are less expensive – try one, you’ll like it and save some money too!).
TB will revisit the Duero region in October when he returns to finish the northwest edge of the Iberian peninsula (Rias Biaxas, Santiago de Compostello, and Vigo), then down into Portugal to Porto. From their he will fly to Madeira and back to Lisboa to begin a cruise to Marakeesh, Casablanca, and more, then finish in the Canary Islands at Tenerife – one would think it would be easier to fly from there to Madeira but since the Canary’s are Spanish and Madeira, Portuguese, no can do). Can’t wait to take the trip and report back to you.
Last Sunday, TB read a review of a wine named Portada. A 2013 red, that the author said was a $30 wine selling for $10. Intrigued, and anxious to increase his knowledge of Portuguese wine he bought a bottle from a local wine merchant and it is ‘knock your socks off stunning’! What does it taste like? Indescribable – a wine for all tastes as it is chock full of rich berry flavors but with soft tannins to make it a great wine to go with everything from barbecue to ??? But more than that it will even appeal to those of you who are Two Buck Chuck lovers (even though the price is approaching $3!). Don’t misunderstand, TBC has not only enriched the coffers of Trader Joe’s but it has helped eliminate cheap wine from the competition – globally, good wine is forcing out bad because you can’t sell much for under three dollars – that is legal anyway!
That’s all for now, friends! Stay thirsty? – now why would you want to do that? As an old Navy guy running an enlisted men’s club used to say, “drink up, this ain’t no library!”
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