I love Rioja wines. To me, it is Spain in a bottle. I like it is a wine that appeals to all types of wine drinkers. I love they let it mature in the barrel. When you open a bottle, it just needs to breathe a bit; it rarely needs decanting. To quote the late great Orson Welles, “Good wine”–<heavy breath, the dude was wicked overweight>–“takes time.” –<dramatic pause>.
La Rioja Alta makes excellent wines. I’ve had their Vina Alberdi wine in my cellar for years. (a pox upon me, I THOUGHT I had reviewed this wine, but no. No matter, I will remedy that mistake in the near future.) Since I trusted the winery, I picked up a couple cases of this wine without trying it beforehand. Probably the best wine decision I have ever made.
This wine is 80% Tempranillo grapes from 30-year-old vines in the winery’s La Cuesta and Montecillo vineyards located in the Rioja province towns of Fuenmayor and neighboring Cenicero. The Garnacha grapes (20%) are harvested in the 550 meter La Pedriza vineyard in nearby Tudelilla.
The two types of grapes are casked and aged separately. They age the Tempranillo for 36 months (3 years!) in mid-aged American oak barrels. The Garnacha ages for 30 months, also in American oak. After aging, the two varietal wines are blended for the final product. For the 2009 harvesting, the blending and bottling occurred in May 2014.
Bright, intense nose of spicy cherry and smoky oak. Ripe red fruit on the tongue, long, tangy fruit finish that delights the drinker. Best rioja I have ever had!