Atalays de Golban is a wine with a pretty interesting story. The fruit for this very nice Ribera del Duero is sourced from vineyards in and around the village of Atauta in the forgotten eastern edge of the Ribera del Duero region. This area was not highly sought after by growers and winemakers, and in 1999 wine merchant Miguel Sanchez was able to buy up most of the land in this region at rather low prices. The land included many old vine Tinto Fino/Tempranillo plantings that had been neglected for years and just needed some care. The land here is at higher elevation and cooler temperatures than most of Ribera del Duero, which results in a somewhat longer growing season than most of the region. Sanchez first used this fruit for his Dominio de Atauta project and then bought even more land for Atalyas de Golban before prices quickly rose in Atauta due to his early success there.
Sanchez' French winemaker Bertrand Sourdais has come up with some great results in this 2005 offering. Intense purple in color, the wine was aged in 20% new and 80% used French oak. Aromas of blackberry, dark plum and cassis are laced with notes of leather and spice. This 100% Tinto Fino/Tempranillo has a rich, full bodied mouthfeel. Fruit forward in style, dark berries dominate the palate with some mild pepper on the nice finish. Smooth tannins round out the structure.
I had this with an authentic Hungarian pork dish, and it worked pretty well, but ideally this should be paired with grilled red meat, especially lamb, or good dry Spanish cheese like an aged Manchego or Mahon.
At a price right around $20, this wine represents a pretty good value.