Spain vs Umpqua Valley

This tasting was about comparing Spanish Tempranillo’s from the Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions to the Umpqua Valley in Roseburg Oregon. Spain is known for using American oak in their wines (Rioja more so that Ribera del Duero). The Gran Reserva label means that the wines must spend at least two months aging in oak and another three years in the bottle before being released (5 years total). The climates are somewhat similar (Earl Jones at Abacela researched climates in many locations, it is amazing how similar the Umpqua Valley and the two Spanish regions are to each other – read more at this link httpssss:// ).

The geology of the Umpqua Valley is unique because the Klamath Mountains, Cascade Mountains the Coast Range converge there. The buckling produced rolling hills along with steep hillsides and some very old, rich soils. This region has a very unique terroir where Tempranillo has found another home. So this tasting features the old world Spanish wines vs. the Umpqua Valley, a region that has yet to be recognized for producing great wines.

There were 10 tasters. The order of finish was based on the total points of each taster’s choice of their 1st(5), 2nd(3) and 3rd(1) favorite wines.

The professional critic ratings for each wine are shown as follows:

WA – wine advocate, WS – wine spectator, WE – wine enthusiast W&S – wine and spirits, Robinson – Jancis Robinson

Decanter Magazine, Tanzer -International Wine Cellar(IWC)

Order of the Finish

1 2009 Hillcrest Umpqua Ribera 14.0%

2 2009 Alion Bodegas y Vinedos, Ribera Del Duero Cosecha 14.5% $75 WA 93 WS 91

3 2001 Marques de Riscal Gran Reserva 14% $50 WA 93 Tanzer 92 WE 90

4 2009 Abacela Paramour 14.2% $100

5 2001 Faustino Gran Reserva 13.5% $30 WE 91 WS 89 Robinson 15/20 Decanter 97

6 2011 Delfino 13.4% WE 89 $29

6 2012 Hillcrest El Grande 13.9% $45

7 2001 La Rioja Alta “904” Gran Reserva Rioja 12.5% $50 WA 96 Tanzer 93 WS 91

Wines receiving no taster votes for 1st,2nd and 3rd:

2004 CUNE Vina Real Gran Reserva Rioja 13.5% $33 WA 93 Tanzer 92

2005 Bodegas Muga “Prado Enea” Gran Reserva Rioja 13.5% $55 WA 95 Tanzer 94 W&S 92

2012 Abacela Barrel Select Estate 14.8 $34

2013 Reustle Winemaker’s Reserve Tempranillo 13.9% $39


2004 La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva Rioja $32 WS 94 WA 93

It was not surprising to me how well Oregon did in this tasting. Dyson Demara at Hillcrest uses concrete fermenters so the wines ferment at cooler temperatures for longer periods of time. Abacela makes a Gran Reserva style Paramour, where it spends two years in barrel and then three more in bottle. Jim Delfino uses native yeast to show off their unique terroir. Stephen Reustle uses some American oak to go along with French to give his wines more of a Spanish feel. Even though Oregon is very new to Tempranillo they do it very well.

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