These reviews are based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.



Ribera logo



2009 Bodegas y Vinedos Montecastro Alconte

2007 Bodegas Valdubon Reserva





I was invited to participate in a Virtual Tasting exploring the wines of Ribera del Duero.  This was perfect for me since I actually prefer this region over the other “famous” Spanish region, Rioja.  New technology and modern techniques, along with respect for tradition, have driven the quality of Ribera del Duero to its highest accomplishments in over two millennia of winemaking history.


Snooth’s Editor-in-Chief, Gregory dal Piaz, and Sommelier Roger Kugler led the discussion of Ribera’s rich history and amazing wines.


There were four wines to be discussed during the tasting.  Besides the two wines that were sent to me, 2013 Bodegas y Vinedos Monteabellon Avaniel Rose and 2010 Bodegas Montebaco Semele were also enjoyed by other participants.



Ribera pic



About the region

The Ribera del Duero is about a two hour drive north of Madrid.  Even though wine has been made in the region for over 2000 years, the region did not receive official Denominación de Origen (DO) status until 1982.


The area takes its name from the Duero River that cuts through the region.  The region is about 70 miles long and over 20 miles wide and is home over 250 wineries.


The main wine grape in the region is Tempranillo which also answers to Tinto del País and Tinto Fino.


This is a large, dry area that receives very little rain.  This dry climate forces the vines to dig deep into the ground to find water and nutrients.  This “struggle” reduces the yield but ensures the grapes produced are full of flavor and minerals.  These wines are generally on the rustic side with rugged tannins and good acidity, perfect with a piece of juicy meat hot off the grill.


Much more information on the region and wineries is available by clicking here.






This presentation and the wines were provided by Greg Dal Piaz and Snooth.


Snooth is the world’s most comprehensive wine site, hosts the largest online wine community & features reviews & local prices for millions of wines.



Snooth is a revolutionary web-based social shopping experience that is simplifying how people select, learn about, and purchase their favorite wines.


Company Overview

Philip James launched Snooth in 2007 with one goal: to make wine info clear, accessible, and freely available.

The idea for Snooth first came to Philip when he began working in the wine industry and realized just how complex wine was — if even the most seasoned wine collectors could become confused, what hope was there for the casual wine lover?

He realized that the wine industry was hopelessly fragmented — with neither a standardized naming system nor a centralized repository of information — and created Snooth to change all of that.


Visit Snooth by by clicking here.




My Line Up

Here is my line up for this online tasting event:

Snooth Ribera del Duero line up

Snooth Ribera del Duero line up




2009 Bodegas y Vinedos Montecastro Alconte

2009 was considered to be a near perfect vintage, comparable in quality to 2004.


This was aged for 14 months in a mix of French and American oak.  The total production was 13,345 bottles.  The grapes for this wine came from younger vines.


This has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark ruby color.  The outstanding nose has plums, blackberries, minerals, licorice, earthy underbrush, dark chocolate, baking spices and white pepper.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate, spicy fruit and minerals jump out first with earthy elements and dark chocolate coming out on the back end.  The finish has decent length but does get a touch rustic.  A year in the cellar may help smooth out the back end and perhaps add a bit more oomph on the finish.  (90 pts)

2009 Bodegas y Vinedos Montecastro Alconte

2009 Bodegas y Vinedos Montecastro Alconte




2007 Bodegas Valdubon Reserva – $25

2007 was considered to be a lighter, weaker vintage for the region.


This wine is 100% Tempranillo (Tinto del Pais).  The total production for the vintage was 35,868 bottles, mine was number 16,974.


The wine has 13% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark violet color.  The enticing nose has black plums, berries, tobacco, baking spices, minerals and a touch of mint.  This wine is barely medium body with soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate, spicy fruit and minerals jump out first with spicy oak coming in later.  The finish has good length with some subtle earthiness entering the picture.  I wouldn’t stash this in the cellar to too long, open the bottle and enjoy it over the next year or two.  (89 pts)

2007 Bodegas Valdubon Reserva

2007 Bodegas Valdubon Reserva





These were both easy to like wines full of character.  Even though 2007 was considered to be a weaker vintage, the Valdubon was very nice.  The Valdubon is nearing the end of its life but the Alconte has a couple years to go before it even reaches its full potential.




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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.