James Barlow, new outlook on Ribera & Rueda wines

July 3rd, 2019

Ribera y Rueda Trade Trip Q&A: Spec’s Wines

Ribera del Duero and Rueda invited U.S. wine buyers and on-premise professionals to visit the beautiful regions of Ribera del Duero and Rueda for a deep dive into Spain’s top red and white wines.

During the 5-day tour, the group enjoyed countless winery visits and tasted the best of Spain’s cuisine. From UNESCO World Heritage sites to backyard homecooked BBQ’s, they also learned about the region’s rich culture, culinary heritage, and winemaking history. Join us as we spend five minutes with James Barlow, Buyer, Trainer and Riedel Sales Manager at Spec’s Wine, Liquors and Finer Foods to learn about his favorite memories, key wine takeaways and how this trip might have changed his outlook on Ribera & Rueda wines.


Where do you work?

Spec’s Wines, Liquors and Finer Foods

What do you do there?

Buyer, Trainer, Riedel Sales Manager

In one word, how would you describe the Ribera del Duero wine region? Rueda?

Ribera: Provocative

Rueda: Engaging

From Mercado San Miguel to the historic Cava Baja street, the aqueducts to the Valladolid, which cultural activity did you enjoy the most?


What are the “must do” activities you would recommend to someone visiting the wineries of Ribera and Rueda?

Check out all the underground cellars and enjoy the food.

What was your most memorable food pairing during the trip?


What was your most surprising wine learning from your time spent tasting in Ribera del Duero and Rueda?

The amount of innovation, while learning from the past and keeping that history relevant.

Has your outlook on the regions changed?

Yes, showing how the regions innovate while keeping an eye on tradition really spoke to me.

What are your top takeaways that you will bring home with you to Specs?

Loved Val Sotillo and MartinSancho wines.

Don’t forget Rueda’s Verdejo, but definitely check out the Sauvignon coming from Rueda as well.

There is a real change in profile when dealing with terroir.

The regions are naturally sustainable/organic due to the weather.

Ribera continues to thrive as one of the top regions in Spain.

Albillo is coming down the pike for Ribera Blanc.

Amazing wines and regions.