Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Clash of the Spanish Titans: Bodegas Emilio Moro

In yesterday's posting we examined areas of discourse that Juan Muga of Bodegas Muga could have pursued during the Clash of the Spanish Titans wine tasting, held at the Wine Barn in Orlando, if the format and available time had been more conducive. Today we examine broad constructs from which Mr. Espinar of Bodegas Emilio Moro could have drawn for his theoretical discourse.

Unlike Rioja, the Ribera del Duero region had neither the locational proximity nor the winemaking "chops" to "merit" French involvement during the relevant period. To elaborate, Ribera del Duero is located in the heart of Castile y Leon, a decidedly Spanish enclave. Second, the only wine of note in the Ribera del Duera region for the longest time was Vega Sicilia which was founded in 1864 and was the region until the founding of the modern bodegas in the late 19th century.

Source: http://www.cellartours.com/spain/spanish-wine-maps/

Ribera del Duero was awarded Denominacion de Origen designation in 1982 and is noted for its reds made from Tinto Fino (also called Tinto de Pais locally). The wines, which must b at least 75% Tinto Fino, are characterized by "... a soft 'summer-fruit' characteristic and crisp, green tannins." The wines are more concentrated than their Riojan counterparts, a fact that has been attributed to grapes resulting from the combination of chalk-rich soils and a micro-climate consisting of hot summer days and cool nights.

Bodegas Emilio Moro, currently one of "... the DOs benchmarks ...", has a history stretching back more than 120 years to the father of the founder Don Emilio Moro. Drawing on his father's
philosophy and practices, Don Emilio founded the winery, which would bear his name, based on the principle "To make good wine, to make the best wine or not be involved." Ownership of the winery continues in the family to this day.

The winery, located at 1950 feet up on the banks of the Duero River, is unique in that its vineyards are planted with some of the purest Tinto Fino clones available, drawn from vines originally owned by Don Emiliano's father. In an effort to ensure that the individuality of the terroir is manifested in every instance of its wine, natural fermentation is practiced.

The Bodegas Emilio Moro wine portfolio is as follows:
  • Emilio Moro -- 100% Tempranillo; 12 months in oak (Crianza), 24 months in oak (Reserva); 1,100,000 bottles; 2005 vintage awarded 92 points by the Wine Spectator
  • Finca Resalso -- 100% Tempranillo; 4 months in oak, 400,000 bottles
  • Malleolus -- 100% Tempranillo; 16 months in oak; 200,000 bottles; 2005 vintage 93 points Parker, 92 points Wine Spectator
  • Malleolus de Valderramiro -- 100% Tempranillo; 16 months in oak; 7,500 bottles; 2005 vintage 97 points Parker, 93 points Wine Spectator
  • Malleolous de Sanchomartin -- 100% Tempranillo; 16 months in oak; 3,500 bottles; 2005 vintage 98 points Parker, 96 points Wine Spectator
The wines of this Bodega have been well received internationally and, I think, deservedly so (Please note that while I quote Parker and Wine Spectator scores, I am not a believer in a numerical method of rating wines. I will save that rant for another day.).


  1. Interesting to see the scores on the Sanchomartin vs. the Valderramiro. The Valderramiro was clearly a notch above despite the lesser scores. Either this wine is in a dumb/closed phase or the critics were asleep at the glass.

  2. I am in agreement with Mr. Goulet in that i found the Valderramiro to be eye-poppingly good. I had been going along tasting wine after wine in a passe fashion but the Valderramiro stopped me in my tracks.