Dominated by the Tempranillo grape (also known as Tinto Fino in this part of Spain), this was our first comparison of Ribera del Duero wines. We came away pleased with our top wines, though our bottom entry was among the very worst bottles we've ever tried.

Ali did not admire these as much as the rest of us but did come away with the best value of the night, a second place finisher that costs a mere $15 -- an astonishing value for this appellation.

First Place:  Vizcarra JC Vizcarra 2010 (Ribera del Duero). Made from 100% Tempranillo, this exhibited a dark nose, reminiscent of acetone, smoke, plums, charcoal, and licorice. Inviting. Josephine detected "Bulgarian roses." Deep and satisfying in the mouth, we loved the texture, with more licorice and black pepper notes. David found it "almost brooding." Good intensity, and very balanced. Lengthy finish. Contemplative. Finished with a clove note. The overwhelming favorite with 36 points. David's Bottle. About $27.

Second Place:  Valdaya Creta Roble 2014 (Ribera del Duero). Started out with a funky, herbaceous nose, but also moved to fresh cut greens, grandma's perfume, light patchouli, and a dark, wet earth note. Suggestions of new toy and mums. Andy declared that, "I'm interested in this one" and that it smells like "good sweat." Tasted of bright fruit, licorice, and a meaty quality. Approachable, with bright acidity. Tastes younger and happier. A little peppery on the finish. Pleasant. 100% Tempranillo. Received 21 points. Ali's bottle. About $15.

Third Place:  Finca Villacreces Pruno 2014 (Ribera del Duero). Dark, dense, aromatics that were reminiscent of decomposing vegetables, compost bin, smoke in a pub, cut stems, black pepper, oak, chocolate milk, and artichokes. Ali was reminded of "dumpster in July" and "old jam or jelly that's in the bottom of the jar", while Josephine detected "eau du trash." Flavors of espresso, dark chocolate, dark fruit, and black licorice. Tasted a lot better than it smells and had a dark profile. Good intensity, focus, and balance. Perhaps something a little candied on the finish. Contains 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Received 19 points. Kristin Amico's bottle. About $22.

Hernando y Sourdais Antidoto 2014 (Ribera del Duero). Some funk on the nose, with notions of nail salon, wet cardboard, wet towel after the pool, wet wool, skunk, licorice, and spices. Ali was reminded of "dead, wet things", but Andy decided, "I like it, there's a little bit of bug spray." Interesting in the mouth, like berries and camping. Likable. Received 8 points. Kristin Crane's bottle. About $20.

Yllera Boada Reserva Campo de Bueyes 2012 (Ribera del Duero). Smelled like Port, with a rich character of dark plums, cherries, dried raisins, black pepper, strawberry, smoke, oak, vanilla, whiskey, wet wood, Band Aids, caramel, and kettle corn. Ripe. Dense, with plenty of fruit on the palate, but a little out of whack, with the alcohol standing out, and not as complex as the nose. Ali was reminded of paste or rubber cement. A bit green, like eucalyptus or green bell pepper on the shorter finish. A cream/caramel note came out with air. We all felt a little bad that this received no points. Josephine's bottle. About $32.

Condado de Haza Crianza 2014 (Ribera del Duero). Looks unfiltered. Tasters found unpleasant funky aromas of burning rubber and wet, old tobacco. Josephine was reminded of "Uncle Alfio's old cigar that's been sitting in an ashtray", while Kristin Amico found "overcooked brownies." Notions of feet and rancid peanuts. Amico felt that "this is what Bosnia smells like" and was also reminded of Varanasi. Josephine detected "a little bit of dirty diaper." Andy decided that "if someone put this to your nose and said to smell it, you wouldn't think it was wine, you'd think it was ashtray water." Amico declared that it "tasted like I just ate a cigarette butt", with Crane finding "burnt peanut brittle", and finally deciding that "this may be the worst wine I've ever smelled." 100% Tempranillo. No points. Andy's bottle. About $27.

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