The landlocked region of Castilla y Leo?n in northwestern Spain is home to a diverse range of dramatic terroirs, producing an equally varied assortment of wines. Forming the northern half of the Meseta Central, and separated from Castilla la Mancha by the Sistema Central mountain range and Madrid itself, Castilla y Leo?n is geographically the country’s largest wine-producing region.
Outside the historic cities of Salamanca and Segovia, its arid plains are still home to decades-old bush vines, while the mountains that border the region host high-elevation vineyards. Historically, Tempranillo’s robust reds were Castilla y Leo?n’s most famous wines, but today the region produces impressive whites as well.
The expansive region is home to some of Spain’s most recognisable wines, with its best-known appellations becoming household names known for high-quality wines – as shown in this year’s edition of the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA), with a whopping total of 461 medal-winners.
Quality and value
As well as its famed DOs, Castilla y Leo?n is also well known as a source of great-value lesser-known bottles, especially since the region is home to an extensive range of Vino de la Tierra wines. This classification offers an opportunity to experience the full breadth of winemakers’ creativity and innovation, using a wider array of grape varieties, and has led to standout wines based on Chardonnay, Gewu?rztraminer, Pinot Noir and Syrah/Shiraz, as well as niche local varieties such as Prieto Picudo.
These wines can come from all over Castilla y Leo?n, benefitting from the full range of the region’s varied terroirs. An impressive 33 awards, including 11 silver medals, went to Vino de la Tierra wines, including varietal Albillos, Prieto Picudos, Tempranillos and red blends including international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.
The standard bearers
Perhaps the region’s most famous DO, Ribera del Duero, has long been producing long-lived, intensely concentrated Tempranillos (locally known as Tinto Fino due to the smaller, more concentrated berries of the Ribera-specific phenotype). It should come as no surprise that the DO was a standout at DWWA 2023, garnering a total of 210 medals.
This included 99 silvers and an outstanding 15 golds – both of which represented improvements on the DO’s already stunning 2022 performance. Special mention, however, must go to the four producers that won platinum medals, reserved for wines scoring 97 points or more: Bodegas Bardos, Pago de los Capellanes, Bodega Los Astrales and Bodegas Balba?s.
The region’s oldest DO, Rueda, located south of Valladolid, has built its reputation on fresh, aromatic wines using the indigenous Verdejo grape; a total of 94 Rueda wines were DWWA medal-winners this year.
Lying on both banks of the river Duero in the west of Castilla y Leo?n is Tierra del Vino de Zamora. Of the wines submitted by the DO, four were awarded medals, of which two were silver and one – for Vin?as Del Ce?nit’s Ce?nit 2020, a blend of Malvasi?a, Albillo Real and Godello, scoring 95 points – was gold.
In contrast, powerful reds – based on a local strain of Tempranillo known as Tinta de Toro – are the speciality of Toro, a small DO nestled between Rueda and Tierra del Vino de Zamora. The DO also found favour with the DWWA judges, with 58 of its wines awarded medals, including 28 silvers. Gold medals were awarded to Vin?aguaren?a’s ‘extremely accomplished, intense and complex’ Munia Especial 2020 and Bodegas Carodorum’s ‘supremely elegant… very concentrated and impossibly long’ Seleccion Especial 2018, both of which garnered 95 points.
In the far northwest, bordering Galicia, the small DO of Bierzo benefits from stronger moderating Atlantic influences than the rest of Castilla y Leo?n, with a wetter, cooler climate and plains of clay and alluvial soils. The DO produces crisp…
Source : https://www.decanter.com/sponsored/castilla-y-leon-another-year-of-triumph-at-the-dwwa-512632/