Quinta do Javali's Ribas Lira - a Portuguese take on the legendary Vega Sicilia
Niklas Jörgensen Livets Goda Jan 22, 2018
The first thought that strikes you when Quinta do Javali's 2007 Ribas Lira is in the glass? Similar to one of the biggest on the other side of the border, when Douro becomes Duero. Certainly, there is something more in this incredibly exciting wine, in addition to the main common denominator, the long-time on oak, which makes one associate with the Ribera del Duero legend Vega Sicilia.
Quinta do Javali has landed in Sweden. A relatively young property started in 2000 by António Mendes in Cima Corgo, the most famous sub-region of Douro and home to the main port wines. By contrast, many of the vineyards are old and António uses the oldest vines for its Vinhas Velhas labels. Some of the oldest vines grapes also go to a wine that stands out a little extra in Douro - Ribas Lira. The wine spends 10 years in French 500-liter barrels.
2007 is a great vintage in Douro and the port wines have some similarities with the famous 2011. The table wines have also proved to be well developed and belong to the better in the last decade. 2007 Ribas Lira, of course, has the typicality of the vintage with sun-warming fruit, but also tightness and freshness. And that later makes us think of the legendary Vega Sicilia on the Spanish side of the border. Both wines spend a long time in oak without losing either excitement or freshness.
We settle down in the bar of Livets Goda to try António's 2007 Ribas Lira. The colour indicates a certain age in view of the brick nuance that the wine's edge has, even though the core is deep ruby red. The bouquet immediately takes a real grip on the tester and initially is the real power pack. But aeration causes the wine to let go and it is becoming increasingly complex; especially when tried a few hours later, the bouquets have developed a depth that offers everything from tobacco, leather, spice shelf, dark berries - especially black currants and plums - and so the salt and light smoky minerality typical of the granite and shale rich soil in Cima Corgo. It is cautiously volatile, in an elegant way.
The taste is dense, full of impressions, yet harmonious in its structure. The freshness impresses and the acid is spicy for a Douro wine, much thanks to old vines. The flavours move from the fresh tobacco, dried figs, oolong tea and leather to sun-dried black currants, dark plums and a touch of oriental spices. It also shows a splash of dill when the wine is allowed to breathe for a couple of hours further. The aftertaste is beautiful, lingering and can certainly be clocked in about a minute if you're so excited about it. Something robust taste impression, but the gut feeling is that it is sanded down with age. Despite the fact that Ribas Lira has already reached the decade, this is a young wine with a great future. The patient can certainly expect 10 years of further development.
And it is then, in 2028 that you set this wine next to a Vega Sicilia Unico of equal age. Something tells us that the similarities will be more than the opposite. The amount of 2007 Ribas Lira produced is vanishingly small and it is thus extra fun that Quinta do Javali's Swedish importer, Chastel Beverage, managed to get an allocation to Sweden. The wine can only be offered to some stores but try to find an opportunity to add this wine to the collection because it is undeniably unique in its expression.
The Goodness Panel of Life: 94 LGP
Ribas Lira costs 562 SEK and you will find the link to the wine here: