Even when he has a cold (as he did today), it's always a thrill to get to taste with Doug Frost (above), Master of Wine and Master Sommelier, one of only three people in the world to hold both titles. Doug was in Houston at the Parador, riffing on Ribera del Duero, one of Spain's emerging fine wine regions and one of the best values in the U.S. today.
Doug guided some of the city's top buyers and wine personalities through a tasting of seven bottlings of Tempranillo (the region's predominant red grape), ranging in retail price from $15 to $200.
One of the most remarkable things about Ribera del Duero (which means literally banks of the Duero river) is "how much variation you find between growing sites," noted Doug; this is one of the hallmarks of the greatest appellations of the world. "Twenty years ago, no one was paying attention to this region," he said. "Today, it's one of the country's most exciting appellations."
In the flight of seven wines, which ranged from the ultra-modern to the rigorously traditional, the wines that impressed me the most were the 2007 Tinto Pesquera by Alejandro Fernandez, a classic expression of this ancient wine-growing region, produced by one of the pioneers who helped to put it on the fine wine map back in the 1980s (nervy acidity, judicious tannin, red and black fruit, and a wonderful menthol note in the finish, around $35), and the 2008 Tinto Roble by Viña Mayor, a light-bodied quaffer, one of those "shut-up-and-give-me-some-food-to-go-with-this great wines," noted Doug (bright red fruit, with nice acidity, just a hint of oak, and a kiss of tanin, under $15).
The tasting was just one of the many Spanish food and wine events for trade and consumers happening this week and next in town. Pass the tapas, please...
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.