Carmen Benitez. Journalist @cabeherrero
Last year, Ribera del Duero was named Wine Region of the Year at the Wine Star Awards, sponsored by Wine Enthusiast magazine. But what are the Wine Star Awards? For how long have they been running? And why Ribera del Duero?
What are the Wine Star Awards?
These Awards recognize excellence at all levels of the industry, from production and distribution through to sales of wines and spirits. The jury comprises critics, journalists and specialists from the magazine Wine Enthusiast.
The main categories recognize the year’s best winery (European, New World and US), winemaker, wine region, wine person, importer and retailer, as awards are also presented for distilled beverages.
The Sommelier of the Year category, created by the magazine last year, recognizes major contributions from sector professionals. The 14th edition of these awards will be held in 2013.
Best wine region
DO Ribera del Duero was named Wine Region of the Year 2012, beating out Napa Valley (US), Cape Winelands (South Africa), Walla Walla Valley (US) and Loire Valley (France).
The jury chose Ribera del Duero for its “historical and traditional way of extracting the greatest expression of the Tempranillo grape" and recognized “the great potential of the coastal wines in international markets and the projection that has reached the region.”
The “Drink Ribera, Drink Spain” campaign has increased the area’s international renown, making it one of the top picks of experts around the world.
According to José Trillo, Chairman of the Regulatory Council: “Sales of our wines continue to expand despite the crisis, we are further strengthening our share of the market in Spain, and we are entering new international markets”. The US has become the main destination for Ribera del Duero winery exports, and the focus on the region continues to bear fruit
Why Ribera del Duero?
Ribera del Duero wines are only produced in a very specific region. The DO Ribera del Duero is in Spain’s northern plateau and extends into four provinces in the Castilla y León region: Burgos, Segovia, Soria and Valladolid.
The special climatic conditions have a large impact on the quality of the wine, which sets Ribera del Duero apart from other regions. The specific conditions that characterize vine-growing in Ribera del Duero greatly influence the grapevine growth cycle, playing a key role in plant development and grape maturation, with a subsequent impact on the wine.
The region has moderate to low rainfall (450 mm per year), dry summers (up to 40°C) and long, harsh winters (as low as -18°C), and experiences marked variations in temperature within each season. The climate is continental and Mediterranean, with more than 2,400 hours of annual sunlight. These extreme conditions make Ribera del Duero a very special area for producing a very distinct wine.