Durius Magister is the new wine from the Durius winery in Arribes del Duero in Fermoselle in Spain, near the Portuguese border.  United Wineries are planning to market it as Spain's Grange.  To this end, Haciendas de Espana/United Wineries invited me to take part in a blind tasting pitting three of their wines against three others, including Penfolds Grange 1999: we were given a list of the wines, but with no indication of order.  We were asked to mark all wines out of 100.  In total, United Wineries wrote to me later with the results: in total 46 people tasted the six wines, and their average scored are given in parentheses below (others seem to have scored more generously than me!)

But first my note of the wine, not tasted blind (i.e. I knew what it was):

Durius Magister MMII
40% tempranillo; 20% cabernet sauvignon; 20% merlot; 20% malbec.  All fairly recently planted.
From a freshly opened bottle.  Very dark and impenetrable colour.  Round, sweet fruit with some oak on the attack.  But as it's held in the mouth, more hard, rough fruit appears with solid, really grippy tannins.  Quite hard work now.  Good flavours after.  Needs time to integrate (and a bit more age on the vines will help too).  Very Good Indeed.                8

Wine 1
A dark and impenetrable colour.  Ripe cherry fruit on the nose.  A touch spirity on the palate.  Big tannins on the finish and after.  Could this be the Durius?  88/100 (94)
Revealed to be 2001 Marques de la Concordia Hacienda de Susar, Rioja (49% tempranillo; 17% syrah; 17% merlot; 17% cabernet sauvignon)  RRP: 16

Wine 2
A more mature colour.  Sweet vanillin fruit on the nose.  Round and light with good structure, nice balance and acidity levels.  My guess is that this is the Bujanda.   93/100 (95)
Revealed to be 1997 Finca Valpiedra, Rioja, Martinez Bujanda (80% Tempranillo; 20% Garnacha)  RRP: 17

Wine 3
Dark and young.  Interesting perfumed nose.  Very rounded soft fruit.  Quite elegant with soft tannins.    91/100 (95)
Revealed to be 2002 Durius Magister, Arribes del Duero (40% tempranillo; 20% merlot; 20% malbec; 20% cabenet sauvignon)  RRP: 30

Wine 4
Dark and young.  Lightly perfumed, red berry nose.  Light attack.  Fairly fresh.  Clean and round.  Big tannins develop on the finish.  Huge massive tannins.   88/100 (94)
Revealed to be 2000 Mas Monistrol MM Single Vineyard, Penedes (70% cabernet sauvignon; 30% merlot)  RRP: 18

Wine 5
A slightly maturing colour.  Intense fruity nose.  Syrah?  Soft attack with good fruit and balance.  Big tannins.  Spice on the finish.  Could this be the Grange?  90/100 (97)
Revealed to be 1999 Grange, Penfolds (100% Syrah)  RRP: 120

Wine 6
A youngish black.  Sweet oaky black- and red-currant fruit on the nose.  Nice character.  Fairly full.  Soft elegance.  Very clean finish.  This is Spanish, but I'm not sure which one.        93/100 (95)
Revealed to be 1999 Mas la Plan, Penedes, Torres (100% cabernet sauvignon)  RRP: 23.

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Last updated: 15 December 2005