2006 Lambuena Reserva Ribera del Duero (Previously $40)
Located in the town of Roa, which is part of the Burgos district, Lambuena is a producer of D.O. Ribera del Duero wines and is one of our newest Spanish direct imports. Ideally situated in the central growing region of the Ribera del Duero, in an area known for the very high quality of its chalky clay soils and its extreme continental climate, Lambuena makes big, generously fruited, yet structured and ultimately classic Ribera del Duero wines (these days, this is very difficult to find in this D.O.) Though the wines consist primarily of Tempranillo ("tinto fino" in the local parlance), there is a small amount of Merlot grown as well, a grape that has been growing in the region since at least the late 19th century (and is still part of Vega Sicilia's plantings). A careful hand harvest, native yeast fermentation, fermentation in tank followed by ageing in French and American oak barrels (with a four year barrel rotation) all add up to very good, traditional Ribera del Duero wine. This reserva is stunning. A nose of oak, roasted meat, spicy dark cherry and red fruit flavors, hints of cola, and even a classic orange peel note I find in Tempranillo grown in chalky soils, leads to a wonderful palate. Flavors are intense blackberry, with good purity, balanced acidity and lots of minerality. Given an 18 month elevage in American and French oak barrels (2 and 3 years old) this wine is built to age for the long haul, though it's beginning to show beautifully now.