Dominio de Pingus-PSI 2009

With vineyards at 2,500 ft above sea level, a relatively short growing season, extremely varied soils – and the constant threat of spring frost – Ribera del Duero, in northwestern Spain, might not look like the easiest place to grow grapes. Yet this region turns out some beautifully concentrated, savory, intensely colored red wines.

The great temperature variation between hot summer days and cool nights and the high-altitude sunlight and dryness are in fact ideal conditions for growing grapes.

A handful of wineries, like the iconic Vega Sicilia, have been making stellar wines in Ribera del Duero for decades, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that the region exploded with new vineyards, and became known as “the modern red wine miracle of northern Spain,” according to The World Atlas of Wine.

The grape that established the region’s fame is Tinto Fino (also called Tinta del Pais), a local variant of Rioja’s Tempranillo.

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