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Protos at Decanter’s London Fine Wine Encounter 2023

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Protos, Ribera del Duero’s pioneering producer, joined some of its most renowned counterparts from all over the world at this year’s edition of the London Fine Wine Encounter.

Being ‘the first’, in whichever discipline or achievement, comes with a considerable responsibility. The burden of the future falls upon the shoulders of those willing and able to lead the way and open new possibilities. This could certainly be said of Protos, the producer that forged the identity of the now iconic DO Ribera del Duero.

Founded in 1927 as ‘Bodega Ribera Duero’, the company relinquished its trademark so that the denomination could bear its most meaningful name. This expressed a general belief in the region’s potential to become a leading source of world class wines, with a unique sense of place. The company’s founders easily realised that only by driving the potential of many could they forge their own sense of identity and achievement.

Almost 100 years on, this connection to the land and people that provide context to the wines produced by Protos remains at the core of the company’s ethos. As does a smart awareness to how consumers share and appreciate each bottle, now and in the future.

The line-up presented at Decanter’s LFWE showcased the scope of the Protos project today – one that has built upon tradition while remaining animated by a pioneering spirit, committed to innovation and attuned to consumer needs. Attendees had the opportunity to taste through some of the brand’s most recognisable labels, while also discovering some of Protos’ most recent creations and projects, some of which focus on forgotten and/or underestimated varieties, DOs and styles.

The takes on DO Rueda and DO Cigales are a perfect example of the latter; a refreshing, food friendly Verdejo and a dark-hued pink, with lots of personality, at the forefront of a revival of the traditional Spanish rosés (Claretes), made for the pleasures of the table. Wine as an inevitable companion to food is a common theme across the Protos range. The organic-certified Protos 9 meses – produced exclusively for the on-trade and soon to be released in the UK – embodies this principle, delivering a perfect balance of drinkability and structure at particularly good value.

Elegance, finesse and poise ripple through the Crianza, Reservas and Gran Reserva on show, all of which, once again, underscore Protos’ commitment to producing the most representative styles of Ribera del Duero in a classical and approachable manner.

Fearless and risk-taking yet consistent and recognisable: words that can be used to sum up the identity of Bodegas Protos. And which also justify why LFWE attendees look forward to meeting the producer at the event, year on year, with much anticipation.


Protos wines at the London Fine Wine Encounter 2023

Protos Verdejo DO Rueda 2022
88 points
100% Verdejo; 13% abv
Very fresh and approachable, with a fleshy core of white orchard fruit, melon and pineapple lifted by juicy lemon and lime zest. Herbal nuances of wild fennel and thyme add a very pleasant savoury edge. Three months on the lees have lent it a perceptible texture and weight on the mid-palate, adding to this Verdejo’s gastronomic appeal.

Protos Clarete DO Cigales 2022
89 points
95% Tempranillo, 5% Syrah and Merlot; 13% abv
A good example of the revival of this traditional style of deep-hued rosado, which deserves a place at any table, garden party or barbecue. Peach, cranberry, sour cherry and wild strawberries mingle on the palate, carried by a fine acid line. Very refreshing but also quite generous and textured. Good finish, with a lingering touch of pink grapefruit.

Protos Roble DO Ribera del Duero 2022
89 points
100% Tempranillo; 14% abv
Vibrant and perfumed nose with luscious aromas of violets, blackberry, black cherry and damson. The palate echoes these aromas, with juicy vibrancy and bright acidity. A fine layer of sweet spice adds refreshing energy. Delicious, chocolatey finish. A great everyday drinker.

Protos 9 meses DO Ribera del Duero 2021
90 points
100% Tempranillo; 14% abv
Produced exclusively for the on-trade this is a versatile wine, approachable yet structured, perfect as a by-the-glass listing. The fruit is fleshy and soft, with red and black berries mingling on the lively palate. The tannins are robust and soft, underscoring the savouriness of dried herbs, cocoa nibs and cocoa beans – all of which linger in the every pleasant finish. Organic certified.

Protos 27’ DO Ribera del Duero 2020
92 points
100% Tempranillo; 14% abv
A modern interpretation of traditional Ribera del Duero, very classy, balanced and poised. The depth of the black cherry, blackberry, plum and blueberry fruit is framed by a lovely structure of fine yet firm tannins. A touch of red apple adds a pleasant, refreshing crunch to the palate. This is offset by the savouriness of dried thyme, rosemary and toasted walnuts, sprinkled with cinnamon and cloves.

Protos Crianza DO Ribera del Duero 2019
91 points
100% Tempranillo; 14% abv
Having spent more than one year in bottle prior to release, there’s a distinct softness to this perfumed and alluring Crianza. Seductive aromas of plums, crushed roses and liquorice lead the way, followed by blackberry, cherry and dark chocolate. Elegant tannins, very poised but with an assertive grip. Delicious spicy finish, with lingering vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Protos Reserva 5ºAño DO Ribera del Duero 2018
92 points
100% Tempranillo; 14% abv
Produced with fruit hailing from 70-year-old vines, this is a wine of great expressiveness and concentration. Intense and alluring nose of blackberry, liquorice, Earl Grey-poached plum, vanilla and cedar. Structured palate, with firm, medium-grained tannins. Long finish with lingering black pepper, sage, wild oregano and tobacco box. Outstanding ageing potential.

Protos Gran Reserva DO Ribera del Duero 2015
93 points
100% Tempranillo; 14% abv
The softness and complexity of the nose are the perfect opening for a complex, layered and structured wine, showing elegant development but still with potential for further cellaring. A fleshy layer of black and dried fruit fills the palate, topped by intense dark chocolate, tobacco leaf and charred oak. Tannins are fine but robust, marked by the wood structure. Very long finish, with lingering herbal and balsamic notes.


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