Ribera del Duero and its subregions
In contrast to Rioja with its better-known subregions (Alta, Alavesa and Oriental), the subregions of the Ribera del Duero denomination are less clearly defined. Nevertheless, based on the terroir, you can distinguish three regions that roughly correspond to the provinces of Valladolid, Burgos and Soria.
Ribera del Duero is a sedimentary valley and the different soil layers are brought to the surface by the erosion caused by the Duero and its tributaries. The soil is often a mix of silty sand or clay, limestone, calcareous rock and the complexity of all this is one of the reasons why the Ribera del Duero wine region has so much potential.
Of course the very continental character of the local climate also plays a determining role. At higher altitudes -the vineyards are at altitudes between 700m and over 1000m- the climate becomes more extreme anyway and includes a higher risk of frost in spring and autumn. This forces the tempranillo to keep the ripening cycle short. At the same time, the large differences between day and night slow down the vegetative process, which in turn promotes a nice ripening of the grapes.
Three provinces, three subregions
Valladolid is the narrowest part of the denomination, ascending to the highlands to the north and south. It includes a riverbed as well as slopes and high plateaus. The clay and limestone soils in themselves are less complex in composition but have good water management and structure (think of Burgundy). The region is home to famous houses such as Vega Sicilia (at Xpertvinum: Rafa Asenjo Arranz).
In Burgos the valley is much wider and there is more impact of erosion. Therefore the different soil layers are accessible to the roots of the vines. The tributaries of the Duero also play an important role here because of the erosion and the sediment they leave behind. The authentic limestone soils of the old plateau are also rather frequent here (at Xpertvinum: Fuentenarro).
Soria is the most eastern subarea, near the source of the Duero. At the same time, it is also the highest part of the D.O. and of course this is an important factor. San Esteban de Gormaz, for example, is located at an altitude of over 850 meters, Valbuena and Aranda, for example, at 730 meters. At the highest point, the vineyards are located on even more than 1000 meters! The valley is again somewhat narrower with especially in the north a soil complexity comparable to that of Burgos. In the south mainly sand, rock and clay occur (at Xpertvinum: Antidoto and Dominio de Atauta).
Ribera del Duero at Xpertvinum: Bodegas Fuentenarro, Bodega Rafa Asenjo Arranz, Bodegas Antidoto, Dominio de Atauta, and Bodegas Leda, which is some kind of an outsider, because it is located 5 kilometers outside the official border of the D.O. Ribera del Duero.
Be sure to discover our discover box of Ribera del Duero with a mix of the different areas.
And just like last year, in collaboration with Vino.be and D.O. Ribera del Duero we highlight the wines from this fascinating wine region. Until the end of december, when you buy one or more bottles of Ribera del Duero wine, you have a chance to win a beautiful Riedel decanter!