2012 Beringer Red Wine Paso Robles 'The Waymaker' $20
Dark, mysterious, and inviting. Given that this is from Paso (and labeled as a 'Red Wine'), one might expect an overly extracted or overblown or hot or all of the above. Instead, this full-bodied red has grip and tension - always a good forbearer of things to come. (And look at those bubbles!) So, how does it play and hour or two decanted? Pretty much the same as on opening. A big wine delivering on full-throttle doses of pretty much everything. Lacks the finesse of Beringer's Knights Valley wines, but also lacks their now-lofty price tag.
2011 Ribon Ribera del Duero Crianza $32 (Sample)
More invigorating and energetic than a crisp fall morning. Taut and coiled, full of anticipation and ready to pounce with its abundant vigor. Dense and intense. Probably would benefit from another year in bottle to unwind a little, but that would require patience. And having had this now, my reserves are low.
2013 Altos de Tamaron Ribera del Duero $11 (Sample)
Straightforward and well made. Medium-bodied with blunt edges characteristic of Riberas. A lot of like here.
2011 Bodegas A Fernandez Tinto Pesquera Ribera del Duero $40
Powerful, massive, inky, and classy. Its size is framed by spicy oak that leads into a mouth-coating, tannic-tinged finish that's a mile long . Better put on your big boy britches before saddling this one. Whoa!
This might not win any awards, but I like it for its simplicity and fresh brightness. Akin to California Sauvignon Blancs from the 90s with a refreshing greeness that doesn't tip towards tart. An easy drinker that explains why this variety had so much mass appeal.