Ribera del Duero DO in northern Spain is smoking hot right now. In 2012 Wine Enthusiast Magazine awarded it the coveted Wine Region of the Year. Decanter declared “there is no better time for discovering Ribera del Duero.” And Wine Spectator claimed, “many of the Ribera del Duero wines that have entered the market are among the most intense and delicious Spanish red wines.” However, the region has been producing wine for thousands of years.
Emilio Moro spent his life discovering the unique characteristics of the terroir of Ribera del Duero. Today winery president Jose Moro continues to make and sell the wines of his father and grandfather. The Moro family are modern day wine producers in a traditional world. President Moro’s philosophy is “kindness through social awareness, personality, and persistence.” In keeping with this ideology in 2014, Emilio Moro wines became the first winery in the world to include Braille lettering on their labels. Moro also brings innovation to the winemaking process. The juxtaposition of tradition and modernity is seen through Moro’s efforts to seek to allow the wines fullest expression of the terroir through organic and sustainable practices, while at the same time staying connected to his customers through actively participating on social media. “We want our followers to be able to keep up to date with who we are, everything we do, and who we are becoming.”
Jose Moro also oversees Bodegas Cepa 21. The aim of the project was to build a modern, functional, minimalist new winery drawing on the savior-fare acquired through several generations of the Moro family. It is a modern winery crafting modern wine from the Moro’s own Tinto Fino Tempranillo clone. Moro sees Cepa 21 as the fullest expression of the wine revolution that has been taking place in Spain over the last few years.
For the best explanation of Cepa 21, I will share a clip with you from an interview my fellow wine writer and friend Anatoli with Talk-A-Vino conducted with Jose Moro. Please visit the article “One on One with Winemaker: Jose Moro of Bodegas Cepa 21” for the full interview.
“Cepa 21 is the project of the third generation of the Moro Family. We were eager to experiment with a different terroir and a diverse expression of the Tempranillo variety. Our goal was to find the maximum expression of the Tempranillo variety, respecting the finesse and elegance of the grape. In that sense, Emilio Moro and Cepa 21 have several differences. For starters, Cepa 21 vineyards are orientated to the north whereas Emilio Moro vineyards have a southern orientation. The climate is another differentiating factor (colder in Cepa 21) and the way we classify our wines also differs. In Emilio Moro we classify attending to the age of the vineyard and its vines, whereas in Cepa 21 we classify according to the altitude of the vineyards.
The result: Cepa 21 wines are subtle but structured, fresh and yet complex, elegant and full of personality and they have an interesting aromatic palate.” ~ Jose Moro
Here are two wines that represent the same winemaking philosophy from two different Moro wineries in Ribera del Duero:
2014 Emilio Moro Tempranillo Ribera del Duero Spain ($22): 100% Tinto Fino Tempranillo; clear deep ruby with garnet hues; clean medium+ aromas of black cherries, savory dried herbs, licorice, espresso, smoke, minerality; medium acidity, tannins, and body, silky texture, great structure, mouth-coating balanced wine, long finish, rustic and pleasing.
2014 Bodegas Cepa 21 Ribera del Duero Spain ($22): 100% Tinto Fino Tempranillo; clear deep purple; clean penetrating aromas of dark cherries, blackberries, strawberries, black currants, candied violets, spice notes, savory dried herbs, damp tobacco leaves, dark chocolate, minerality, toasted walnuts, vanilla; medium acidity and tannins, body and finish medium+; an earthy wine with a juicy fruit forward new world flare, velvety mouthfeel, easy drinking wine.
These wines are a wonderful representation of a long family legacy of winemaking. Both wines illustrate a commitment to land stewardship, high quality, and the fullest expression of terroir. I have been told by a well-educated source that Ribera del Duero produces the purest and most expressive Tempranillo in all of Spain. Pick up a couple of bottles of Moro family wines and decide for yourself.