Wine Spectator wrote last year, “Ribera del Duero’s high elevation and continental climate tend to produce structured reds with bold fruit flavors, often amplified by aging in new French oak.” That powerful profile, along with the growing world demand for these wines, has driven prices skyward, with some fetching more than $100 a bottle, and great ones going for considerably more than that.

All of which makes the two wines today, both from 2018, such outrageously good values: we’re able to offer the Crianza for less than $30 a bottle, and the Vendimia Seleccionada for less than $50 a bottle!

And the fact that both come from the legendary Marqués de Cáceres Group makes this an absolute no-brainer of a buy.

At our recent tasting, we were thrilled to find that they are as structured, elegant, and rich as any we have come to expect from the Forner family and their vaunted estate.

Though success, today, seems to come remarkably easily to the Forner family, with vintage after vintage claiming major honors, it was not always thus. Indeed, as Vinepair wrote, the family’s journey is "as rich and complex as Spain's" own history. Christine Forner, a fifth-generation winemaker, oversees a thriving estate and growing company — a state of peace and prosperity her paternal grandparents could only dream of. They fled their vineyards with the onset of the Spanish Civil War, found refuge in France, and eventually acquired two châteaux in the Haut-Médoc region of Bordeaux. Returning to Spain in 1970, after more than a generation in exile, they opened Marqués de Cáceres, in Rioja Alta. Though the rupture was undeniably a loss for the family — of continuity, of stability — the hands-on knowledge gained from tending plots and making wine in Bordeaux Grand Cru Classé was unmistakably a gain. 

The La Capilla vineyard, which encompasses several plots across three different municipalities, is blessed with high altitude and variable weather patterns (cold, harsh winters giving way to hot, dry summers). All of which contribute to a slow ripening of the grapes, and, in conjunction with the sandy loam texture of the soil, to wines that are as rich as they are vibrant, with layered tannins and excellent structure.

Made from 100% Tempranillo, the 2018 Crianza was produced in a limited run of 145 barrels. It spent 12 months in fine-grain new French oak, and a portion of the wine also went into new American oak barrels. Because Crianzas must spend at least one year in barrel and another in bottle before they can be sold, they arrive before the public with greater maturity than other wines with the same vintage. This one has a gorgeous, elegant softness and an intense bouquet, to go along with its abundance of fresh black fruit and the refined, toasted notes on the palate.

Speaking of intense: that brings us to the Vendimia Seleccionada, which, in classic Ribera del Duero fashion, is a deeper, darker, and more tannic wine.

The ’18 has yet to be rated, but in our tasting we found it to be a powerhouse — a rich and muscular wine that is just waiting to impose itself on you, but that, over time, opens up, and softens, and reveals its more tender side. Our experience fairly echoes that of Vinous with regard to the '17, which it found "potent ... seamless ... [with] a core of juicy acidity. [It] becomes livelier with air and finishes smoky and very long, with repeating cherry and floral notes and gentle tannic grip.”

There you have it, folks: two great expressions from a rising star estate with serious pedigree, and at a terrific value. Don't delay — get yours now!



*Offer NOT valid in-store. This offer is made pre-arrival, with wines estimated to be delivered to your preferred store in Summer 2022. With the supply chain issues that we are seeing globally, there may be some unforeseen delays which could affect the ETA. All sale prices are the lowest available at Total Wine & More and ONLY valid through Concierge Sales. No further discounts or coupons may be applied. Offer not valid in KY, LA, MI, NM, NV, NY, or TN. This offer is for ONE WEEK, or until sold out, and will expire on Thursday, April 14, 2022.