Three Different Shades of Ribera del Duero – Ferratus Winery

Ferratus winery in Ribera del Duero
Early this summer I received an offer to evaluate wines from Ferratus in the Ribera del Duero region of Spain. Its a region I’m interested in exploring, so I jumped at the chance, and a few days later, three different wines arrived in the mail.  All are the same Ribera del Duero DO (similar to AOC in France, or DOC in Italy), and all are 100% Tempranillo, but the included notes indicated three different wines. Comparo time!

Wine tasting on a stormy summer evening

Wine tasting on a stormy summer evening

Ferratus Winery – Background
Ferratus produced their first commercial vintage in 2006. The family owned winery has a long history in the Ribera del Duero, but they are new to the wine business.  They own 15 hectares of vineyards to provide the grapes for their wines. Their winery is a beautiful, modern gravity fed winery, I’ll look forward to visit on some future trip to Spain. Wisely, they use consultants as they gain experience as winegrowers, but you can see they are very hands-on!

Ferratus Ribera del Duero

Ferratus Ribera del Duero – Flagship of the winery

Ferratus Ribera del Duero DO 2010
Ferratus is the winery’s flagship wine, held back several years before release. While made in a modern style, the wine is the most reserved and elegant of the three wines I sampled.

It is 100% Tempranillo and spends 14 months aging in 90% new French oak barrels. The wine is unfiltered and not cold stabilized, so the winery suggests decanting to remove any sediment. I’m always happy to see a bit of sediment in a wine bottle, as it tells me the wine was not filtered. A bit of filtering can be OK, but sterile filtering a wine (often done) risks removing some of the finer characteristics which are in the original liquid.

Tasting notes from the winery:
“In the nose, we find red and black fruit aromas and the smell of violet-flavoured sweets, recalling childhood. Its time in the barrel brings it always subtle notes of tobacco and chocolate, giving it great complexity. Drinking it arouses a pleasant overall sensation due to its velvety tannins, while its character and power are clear.”

Jeff’s notes:
Eye: Very slightly hazy (unfiltered, good!) deep ruby with a purple edge. Deeply purple colored legs.
Nose: Clean, smoky with deep, very ripe blue/black fruit (blueberries). Just a bit of reserve.
Mouth: Palette is quite peppery, with medium acidity and prominant but refined tannins. Even with all that new oak, the wine isn’t overly oaky. Nice, long finish.

Ferratus Sensaciones Ribera del Duero

Ferratus Sensaciones – modern, polished

Ferratus Sensaciones 2009 Ribera del Duero DO
Sensaciones is clearly the winery’s vision of a bold, intense internationally styled wine.

Tasting notes from the winery:
“Explosion of fruits of the forest, blueberries and violets. Notes of chocolate and tobacco from its time in the barrel with a mineral touch very characteristic of FERRATUS Sensaciones. In the
mouth it has volume. It is structured and complete, with a long finish. Ultimately: pure stimulus.”

Jeff’s notes:
Eye: Clear medium ruby color, edge is less purple than the other wines, barely tending toward garnet. Deeply colored purple stained legs, lots of glycerol.
Nose: Clean, bold oak with vanilla & coconut. Deep red fruit (ripe red strawberries) w/ some black fruit. Sweet fruit on the nose.
Mouth: Full bodied, ripe deep red fruit, gives an impression of sweet ripe fruit, perhaps a touch of residual sugar (though not listed). Smooth with reserved acidity and mild tannins.
Giving the smoothest impression, I’d serve this to my friends who are Napa fans.  Not my personal favorite of the three, but a wine that many people would enjoy.

Ferratus Aø Ribera del Duero

Ferratus Aø (A-Cero) modern, fruit forward, young

Aø (A-Cero) Ribera del Duero 2014
Tasting notes from the winery:
“This medium-aged Tempranillo speaks of life and energy with its purple-tinged picota cherry red colouring. Subtlety and complexity from its time in the barrel (tobacco, chocolate and vanilla) make FERRATUS AØ (read it as a-cero, Spanish for steel) a rounded, contemporary, avant-garde style wine with the strength it needs to be considered a real discovery.”

Jeff’s notes:
Eye: Deep purple-red with a purple edge, glycerine legs, not as deeply stained as the flagship wine.
Nose: Clean, peppery bright black fruit (blackberries).
Mouth: Soft acidity, and less tannic than the flagship, although still tannic. Fruit & pepper linger in a nice medium finish. Overall an intense, fruity wine.

Ferratus Ribera del Duero with lamb kebabs

Testing wines with lamb kebabs

Day One – Testing Ferratus Wines with Lamb Kebabs
I had fun dashing in and out between downpours while trying to photograph both the wines and the meal on a rainy July evening. Though the three wines were from the same grape, region and winery, they were quite different with the food. My pick was the Ferratus with the grilled lamb kebabs. The wine was plenty bold and tannic to nicely balance the lamb. To my taste, the Aø was nice, but the fruit was a bit much with the earthy grilled meat. The Sensaciones was just too oaky for me.  I’m sure many of my friends would love this wine, but my pick was the “Original”.

Different foods match with different wines

Different foods match with different wines

Day Two – Testing Ferratus Wines with Slow smoked Pork Ribs
As you might imagine, there was wine left over after day one, so I entered the wines into a second round competition, this time with some slow smoked barbecued ribs.  Imagine my surprise: the Sensaciones was the clear winner! The more reserved Ferratus was nice, but it was lost in the bold flavors and texture of the ribs. The bright, bold flavors of the Sensaciones seemed right at home.  The Aø was nice and the fruit forward flavors showed nicely, I just thought the Sensaciones was a perfect partner. Funny, I didn’t care for Sensaciones tasted by itself, but with barbecue, wow!

Sources for Ferratus Wines
Ferratus wines are working to find a US importer and distributor, so US pricing has not been set yet. Keep your eyes peeled and be the first in your neighborhood to give them a try!

Disclosure: The Ferratus Winery provided the wines with a request for a review if I enjoyed the wines, but no expectations beyond the request. All opinions expressed are my own.

ferratus_ribs 20160626 35


7 Responses to “Three Different Shades of Ribera del Duero – Ferratus Winery”
  1. Very interesting experiment. Thanks. Love the photos. I miss rain!

  2. Such a great lesson in how food and wine compliment each other. The wines sound really interesting. Will keep an eye out for them.

    Incredibly envious of the rain!

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