B-21 Top Recommendation
After experiencing Atauta in the summer of '05, I was determined to bring it to B-21 Spanish wine lovers. I've been a big fan of the work done by Alejandro Fernandez of Pesquera, the man who put Ribera del Duero on the map, but this is Tempranillo of a very different color. Located in the far eastern reaches of the Ribera, Atauta's vineyards are roughly five miles south of the coursing Duero River. Lower temps prevail here; the Advocate calls it "the coolest place in Ribera." This is Soria, with incredibly diverse soils and ungrafted Tinto Fino vines nearly a century old. Altitude is everything, with vines planted more than 3,000 feet in elevation. One of the most impressive plots defies gravity as it perches on the slopes of a cliff, crumbling calcareous rocks all around. Multiple crus are hand-harvested throughout these biodynamically farmed vines – barrel aging only for the finest selections. As I sat and tasted through each bottling, I couldn't help but wonder what Alejandro would think if he too could sample this brilliant, saturated, silken, sultry selection.