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Ribera del Duero breaks score barrier

Published:  17 November, 2021

The fifth annual Ribera del Duero Top 100 Selection has confirmed the awesome potential of the region, with every wine featured scoring a remarkable 94 points or more for the first time ever.

Organised by the Ribera del Duero DO and steered by influential critic and Harpers columnist Tim Atkin MW, the event was held at the Carlton House Terrace in London yesterday. A carefully curated list of top 100 wines from the region were short-listed by Atkin, following a visit to Ribera del Duero in September where he tasted over 530 wines.

The range included Reserva and Gran Reserva wines, but also younger cuvées and lesser-known, but equally impressive whites.

Tim Atkin MW commented: "These exceptional scores are a reflection of the increase in quality rather than score inflation. Every year, I am heartened by the general shift in style – at least among the top producers – towards greater elegance, freshness and balance and away from power, alcohol and reliance on colour and oak rather than fruit and acidity.”

“This is an exciting time for Ribera de Duero as it starts to shed its ‘big and oaky’ image, and people begin to discover the diversity that the region offers.”

Meanwhile, Atkin unveiled his first-ever special report on the wines of Ribera del Duero today.

 The Master of Wine has been a frequent visitor to the vineyards of the region, and has published his ranking of the top wines from there since 2017, but 2021 marks the first full special report from him.

“I first went to Ribera del Duero in 1991, when there were around 75 wineries and 9,000 hectares of vineyards,” said Atkin. “Today, there are 307 bodegas and 24,000 hectares; and it is fully formed, more confident in itself if you like, and firmly established as one of the great wine regions of the world.”

He added: “One of the most exciting things about the region is that it continues to evolve. Every year, I come across new bodegas, often run by talented young winemakers creating wines with focus, balance and a sense of place.”

The report includes in-depth background to the region, covering the history and some of the other factors which have shaped its course, as well as Atkin’s own photographs of the leading wine producers and the landscape of the area. He also offers his own ranking of the leading ‘growths’ in the region, in a nod to the legendary Bordeaux 1855 classification.

The report runs to 100 pages and is available to buy and download from

When the Ribera del Duero region was awarded its own DO (appellation) in 1982, it started with under 20 wineries. Today, approximately 300 firms are producing concentrated reds of intense colour and flavour, almost exclusively reliant on the Tempranillo grape. The region's most famous exports - Vega Sicilia and Pingus – are among the most expensive and prestigious wines being made in modern Spain.