If you were a wine connoisseur searching for the best wines 30 years ago, the Ribera del Duero wine region probably wouldn't have even registered a blip on your radar screen.
Thirty years ago, this central Spanish region was mass-producing wines of little value without any kind of regulation or designation to ensure quality. Since then, however, not only has the Ribera del Duero wine region achieved a Designation of Origin, or DO, status, it is now a legitimate contender against Spain's traditional wine powerhouses, Rioja and Priorat. The region is even popular enough to claim the most expensive wine in all of Spain, made by Vega Sicilia [source: The Wine Doctor].
And though the climate is much more extreme than you might expect from a wine-producing region -- think 100 degree (60 degree Celsius) differences -- the region doesn't focus on making extreme wines [source: Ribera del Duero]. Rather than spreading themselves across the board on whites, reds, rosés and sparkling wines, the Ribera del Duero wine region focuses on doing one thing and doing it well -- reds. And while the region does make several reds (as well as a few rosés and one white), Ribera del Duero is overwhelmingly devoted to a single grape that makes a single Spanish wine, the Tinto Fino, which you may know as the Tempranillo. This lone grape is responsible for approximately 95 percent of all wine production in the region [source: Cellar Tours].
Though the Ribera del Duero wine region has put all of its eggs in one proverbial basket, the gamble has paid off, and the region is now famous for its reds. Learn the history, agriculture and famous wines of Ribera del Duero so you can be ahead of the curve on this newly popular region. Start by visiting the next page, where you'll discover how the Ribera del Duero wine region got its start.