Áster Crianza 2019: ‘Simply Outstanding’ – John Gilman

Áster Crianza 2019

‘Simply Outstanding’ – John Gilman

There’s nothing quite like this wine in South Africa. Our team tasted the Áster Crianza 2019 from Spain’s other great region, Ribera del Duero, over five days, and we were blown away. Made from high-altitude Tempranillo*, it’s a slam-dunk for red wine lovers.

The 2019 is ripe and dense but the opposite of dehydrated, showing black cherry and chalk with noteworthy freshness and length. It smells like the earth, with red and blackcurrant on the palate, a strong mineral drive, chewy, chiselled tannins and a focused finish. At only R400, this is an unmissable wine. Think ribs, smoked brisket and roasted vegetables with smoked paprika – stock up for the colder months ahead!

Áster Crianza 2019: ‘Simply Outstanding’ – John Gilman

Everything in Ribera del Duero is intense. The climate is extreme, with very cold winters and hot summers, and some of the highest altitudes in the northern hemisphere! ‘This exceptional climate gives Ribera’s wines a refreshing, mouthwatering acidity that provides the perfect balance to the ripe summer fruit,’ says Decanter.

Bodegas Áster is named after a Spanish flower that blooms at harvest. In 1991, after much research, legendary La Rioja Alta S.A. planted 76 hectares in Ribera del Duero at an altitude of 780m-830m. They didn’t make wine from these Tempranillo vines until 10 years later – once they understood the land and farming and the vines were mature enough to produce top-notch wines. The plot is in Anguix near Burgos, which Tim Atkin MW describes as ‘the home of most of the best wines’ in the region.

For more from Áster, consider their El Espino 2020 and reimagined 97-pointer, Finca El Otero 2019, which Atkin calls ‘the best release yet … among the region's very best wines’.

*Tempranillo is known as Tinto del Pais or Tinto Fino in Ribera del Duero, meaning ‘red of the land’.

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