WINE OF THE MONTH
By David Button
1996 Ibernoble, Ribera del Duero

The 1996 Ibernoble comes to us from a small cooperative in arguably the best wine producing region of Spain that boasts the world renowned Vega Sicilia and Pesquera Wineries. Ribera del Duero translates into the banks of the Duero, a region that lies in the heart of Castile, 100 miles north of Madrid in the broad river valley of the Duero.  The altitude , which is near the upper limits for viniculture plays a large part in the regionís success. A hot summer climate with daily temperatures in the 90s lead to cool nights which concentrates the fruit and aromatic flavors of the grapes. Moderate rainfall and mists coming off the river provide the humidity necessary for quality wine production. 

 Ibernoble is tank fermented with 90% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from the cooperative vineyards. The average age of the vines is 37 years old which makes for a low yield of concentrated fruit. All grapes are hand picked in small baskets and wines are only released from the best harvests. ( Due to severe frosts the 1993 harvest yielded inferior quality grapes that were not used for wine production).   The 1996 Ibernoble is a fruit bomb that explodes with layers of plums, blackberries and cherries. The wine exhibits an intense ruby color, has a richmouth feel and a long smooth finish. Makes the perfect accompaniment to red meat, game and strong cheeses. Although young, this red is ready to drink now and indeed through 2002 as it displays tremendous depth. As Robert M. Parker put it Think about buying this one by the case!.    

 David Button is a freelance wine critic and currently promotes the wines of  M.S. Walker Inc., one of the finest wine and spirit wholesalers in New England.

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