Creta Roble: Warmth and Romance on an Iowa Winter Night

I fell in love with Ambrosio–just the name conjures up rugged romanticism–when reading The Telling Room by Michael Paterniti.  It is the true story of a world-famous cheese made in the rugged landscape of Spain’s hot Ribera del Duero region.The cheese was said to hold magic, made by a man of mystery and intrigue, who, when speaking on winemakers said, “They don’t make wine; wine makes itself, God makes wine.”

Of course I would fall in love with this man! And Michael Paterniti’s writing led me to fall in love with the hot plateaus of north central Spain, and the tiny village of Guzman, the story’s setting. “O, Castile in August was a heat greater than that of tanning beds and Finnish saunas… We drove toward the sky, it seemed, until we split the last, ear-popping puerto, or mountain pass, and saw there below us, like something from those Bible movies, the great expanse of the upper Meseta, the silted land glinting with flecks of red, gold, and green as we hovered momentarily between two worlds…” 

The thought of blistering heat beating down on rough earth warmed me deeply as I slogged my way through the frozen parking lot and wrapped my scarf around my face for protection from the fiercely cold wind. I was ready to drink the Creta Roble from Ribera del Duero–for romance and for warmth!

Creta Roble is produced from 100% Tempranillo grapes from a vineyard planted in the 1940’s. It is one of the highest elevation vineyards in the appellation, and is composed of chalky soils. Creta is the name given to these soils. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks then aged 4 to 5 months in French and American oak.


Intense aromas flow from the glass. Dark red fruits along with cedar and smoke mingle with minerals and black coffee.

The front palate is thick holding complex flavors of blackberry, licorice, smoke and minerals with a grip of black tea on the finish. The fruit is big and ripe and is balanced with earthy savory notes.

We made an oven roasted pork loin rubbed with Dijon mustard and smoked paprika. The rich smoked flavor of the paprika and the Dijon, encrusted on the loin after roasting, matched the richness and smoky notes of the wine.

Roasted brussels sprouts were drizzled with pan-made balsamic glaze and topped with dried cranberries. The wine’s savory notes mingled well with the vegetal sprouts, and the sweetness of the glaze and cranberries was a good partner with the wine’s ripe fruit.

The wine’s expansive, complex character matched the open expanse of the hot plateau’s of Spain’s Ribera del Duero, and brought warmth and a touch of romance to my cold winter night!


On a cold winter night;

Along with foods that are smoked;

When you want a complex red wine full of fruits and savory notes wrapped in a dry, rich body.


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