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3 Ases Bodegas y Viñedos, Ribera del Duero, Spain

On the sun-drenched plateau of Ribera del Duero the Spanish boutique winery Tres Ases stands out – literally!

The orange hues of the bodega, established in 2007 by three partners, calls on the wine enthusiast to investigate this modern utilitarian structure so different from the small and ancient village of Quintanilla de Arriba where it is located.

With 27 hectares (270 dunam) of Tempranillo under their own cultivation in the heart of Ribera’s Golden Mile, winemaker César Arranz is passionately obsessive about the 50,000 bottles 3 Ases produces annually. All the grapes are manually harvested and after careful sorting are fermented with natural yeasts.

Arranz makes two wines, the Roble which is aged for 6 months in French oak barrels, and the Crianza, a more complex wine which ages for 14 months. Unlike many wines from the region, both are bottle-aged for far longer than dictated by the strict Spanish DOC regulations and are only released for sale when ready to enjoy.

2013 Roble is characterized by the violet and purple hues of Tempranillo, with a nose of black fruits that give way to roasted coffee and cocoa. The palate is somewhat fruit-forward with a hint of oak, well-integrated tannins and a medium finish.

2012 Crianza shows similar but more intense colours than the Roble. Its aromas go deeper than the roasted coffee and cocoa and extend to spices and leather with a liquorice finish. It is a lively and easy wine to drink that is not dominated by its longer time in the barrel.

The wines are almost all sold in the very competitive domestic market at extremely reasonable prices … we bought the pair for just 12 Euros at the winery.

We totally enjoyed our time in Ribera del Duero, and our visits to two of the area’s powerhouse wineries, but it was our afternoon with César that opened our eyes, and palates, to the passion of the special people who have dedicated their lives to maintaining the tradition of the region’s unique wines.

Photos by David Silverman. Copyright © 2016 dpsimages. All Rights Reserved.

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