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2010 Bodegas Balbas Ardal Reserva Selection Especial Ribera del Duero

2010 Bodegas Balbas Ardal Reserva Selection Especial Ribera del Duero

I’m always skeptical when wineries proudly place stickers on their bottles to promote the high scores the wines have received by the mainstream wine ratings companies.  Just the other week we tasted a bottle rated 93 points by one of these outlets, and it fell way below expectations for us.

This one, however, proudly stamped 94 points by Wine Spectator, is an outlier, a true gem that I am going to stock up on every chance I get.

Wine Spectator tastes blind, which lends a great deal more credibility to their ratings.  That, combined with the fact that I tend to agree with them more often than not, gives them more credence in my book.

In the case of this Spanish blend from Ribera del Duero, I’d say they’ve hit the nail on the head, uncovering an amazing wine, and one that we are lucky enough to be able to score at Costco for only $20.

When I see Ribera del Duero, I usually guess 100% Tempranillo in the make up but this one actually included 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, which I think is what helped add to the depth and complexity.  Being a 2010, this wine is ready to drink right now.  Sure, you could age it for a few more years, but the degree to which it is going to change is likely marginal.

It was a little tight out of the bottle but showed early signs of a high caliber wine.  An hour later from the decanter, this wine was right where I hoped it would be.

A nose that conveys quality, that is earthy and juicy; this wine is medium plus in body; flavors of spicy dark cherry, wild strawberry, plum with hints of a little leather and campfire towards the finish.  Finishes dry and dusty, complete.

I really love the balance here.  Everything is in order and it makes for a wine that would be awesome in almost any occasion. At $20, this one is hard to beat, so it will certainly be an addition to our Recommended Wines list.

For everyone out there looking for the highly regarded Kirkland Ribera, this wine may cost a little more, but it’s worth it for what is in my opinion one of the best buys in Costco wine in recent memory.  Enjoy this one, and buy it while you can. Rating: 92 points

Costco item number: 1027766

Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA (Kennesaw)

Alc. 14%

Macfarlane Maria

Wednesday 31st of January 2018

I can't find it anymore!!! Any idea where else I can buy it?


Friday 29th of December 2017

Dear Editor - Please stop posting about this wine! I grabbed a bottle today and got very upset after tasting it. My big issue is not with your review or the price or even the wine. My issue is that I didn't grab a whole case when I saw it!! It is one of the best QPR's I scored in a long time and my worry is that there won't be any more left when I go back tomorrow to buy 2 cases. Your review was accurate. You must decant it (or at least aerate it) so it softens the edges. I do think this will hold for at least 5 yrs if properly stored. It drink like a weekend or special occasion wine but costs like an everyday table wine. That is why I need you to stop saying good things about it.


Saturday 30th of December 2017

It is really really good!

John jannis

Saturday 4th of November 2017

In your review of the Ardal Ribera you mentioned your negative feeling toward review ratings on the labels of wine bottles. I share that view. Almost certainly, if it is printed as part of the main label or is on the capsule, it came from the winery. In that case the wine could easily be from a later lot than the wine reviewed and, if we are being suspicious, we might imagine it tp be a different wine altogether. It seems to me that if the rating is on a separate stick-on label, that label was put on after the original bottling, perhaps by a distributor, and is less suspicious. I think this is a subject a lot of us would like to have addressed. Have you seen anything published on this?


Saturday 4th of November 2017

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I don’t really have any examples of stickers being placed on bottles of different vintages to fake out buyers and I’d like to think that most producers have more integrity than to do something like that. I just get skeptical of the added marketing push these stickers show for the wines. Most respectable producers of quality wine wouldn’t see a need to do it. So it’s always been a turn off for me as I’d hope the wine and it’s reputation, often times word of mouth, can stand on its own. But in this case, this wine is really a great buy. Not quite a 94 as the sticker would indicate but it’s not too far below that at all in my opinion.

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