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95-point Spanish red from one of Ribera del Duero's finest

Vine armchair at Vina Sastre

I was in Spain last week touring Castilla y Leon under cobalt skies that only served to accent the extraordinary gold of the sun-dried hills in the pared-down landscape through which we drove.

I have penned a short report of the trip, which you can read here. And you can expect to see Bowes Wine offers relating to the wineries we visited along the way, as we tasted so many utterly stunning wines.

First up, a wine from the final stop of our tour: Sastre. Here vines are all within the commune of La Horra, which really is the quality core of Ribera del Duero.

Following a glass of his delicious rosado Jesus Sastre drove us up into the vineyards and we stopped to examine the vines, tasting warm Tempranillo fruit on the cusp off harvest: fruit that, like the wine it produces, was sweet and plummy tasting, yet with a core of juicy acidity.

And these are ancient plants, as you can see from the picture above: a fine armchair indeed!

Two important things to remember about this wine: the altitude of the vineyard and the age of the vines. Yes, this is Spain and days can be torrid, the growing season dry, but at these lofty heights - and here we're talking 840 metres above sea level - cool nights allow grapes to retain their freshness. And that acidity bolsters fruit that is the concentrated produce of ancient vines: 90 years old, in this case.

2015 Regina Vides, Viña Sastre
£246 in bond per 6  Drink 2020-30

This manages a stunning trick on the nose by being both a touch creamy and wonderfully defined at one and the same time. Aromas are black and blue, of plum and bramble and blueberry and classy wood comes through as a toasty note. Complexity shows in its hints of charcoal and salt. The whole effect is remarkably cool, almost airy. I found a hint of dried herbs after a while.

The palate is rich, but very quickly gathers a lightly saline structure within the red and black plum fruit. Tannins are very, very fine with a cashmere texture. Very long thing, with minerals along its length. A very busy wine with a properly fresh through-put. Latterly nippy and sustained grip drives through the very clean finish. And there's lively tension throughout, This really is a very fine wine indeed.

I found more finesse and balance in the 2015 Regina Vides than in their top bottling Pesus. 95/100." Luis Gutierrez

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