RIOJA MONTH - OCTOBER 2019
Spain’s most famous wine region is in our spotlight this month, and we couldn't be prouder to share with you our eclectic selection of red and white vinos.
Located in the north east of Spain, the region is divided into 3 parts: The Rioja Oriental, Alta, and Alavesa. Our Riojas are all sourced from the latter two where you can find fresher and more delicate wines. The Rioja Oriental generally produces wines with fuller body and higher alcohol.
The Rioja Alta is higher in altitude than the lower-lying Rioja Oriental, with soils high in clay. This leads to richer styles of wine, and is where you can find the more traditional wines – well-suited to cellaring and beautiful when mature. Bodegas Ruconia of this style – all of the richness and depth of flavour, but still with a fine line of freshness. A modern style has been emerging in the region too - with less wood ageing and gentler fruit extraction, highlighting the terroir here. These wines (although will have no problem ageing) are easy to enjoy when young.To try the modern winemaking approach of The Rioja Alta, look no further than Bodegas y Viñedos Artuke.
The Rioja Alavesa is the most mountainous part of Rioja, with soils rich in limestone. The wines here are the finest and most elegant you can find. Our Rioja Alavesa producers are blessed with exceptional vineyards in some of the highest parts of the entire Rioja region – up to 650m in some cases. Try the lively and vivacious wines from Tentenublo or the gentle and refined wines from Sierra de Toloño – winemaker Sandra Bravo was recently awarded "Young Winemaker of the year" by Rioja expert Tim Atkin. Both of these producers make modern styled Riojas, using very little oak to gently support the delicate and pure fruit character.
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2016 REY DON GARCIA RIOJA Crianza Bodegas Ruconia
Rioja Alta Rioja Spain 13% Red
Graciano, Mazuelo, Tempranillo.
A lovely Crianza from Bodegas Ruconia. This is a firm favourite at L&S. Lots of lively cherry fruit wrapped up in attractive vanilla oak. Medium bodied, the wine holds a good high tone throug...(more info)L&S
2016 RIOJA Camino de Santa Cruz Sierra de Toloño
Rioja Alavesa Rioja Spain 13% Red
This wine used to be known as Rivas de Tereso and is one of Sandra's very special, small production releases from a specific old vineyard of pure Tempranillo. As before this is fermented in ampho...(more info)L&S
2018 RIOJA BLANCO Sierra de Toloño
Rioja Alavesa Rioja Spain 12.5% White
There’s an apple and pear mix here that has fresh allure on the nose and delivers a zippy and attractively fresh palate that has good weight, flesh and a gently creamy, apple sorbet-like finish....(more info)James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com
2017 RIOJA Pies Negros Crianza Artuke
Rioja Spain 14% Red
This juicy Crianza is named ‘black feet’ (Pies Negros) because of the traditional grape treading they still do here at Artuke. Made mostly from Tempranillo with a dash of Graciano, the fruit is f...(more info)L&S
2017 XÉRICO Tentenublo
Alavesa Rioja Spain 14% Red
Deeper colour than the 'Tinto', a raw freshness, a hint of reduction, super-taut black fruit and sappy energy from whole bunch fermentation. It's 'sauvage' energy is captivating from now and beco...(more info)L&S
2018 TENTENUBLO Rioja Blanco
Alavesa Rioja Spain 13.5% White
Jaén Blanca, Malvasía Riojana (Alarije), Viura.
Reductive notes on the nose with a flinty smoky whiff. This is present on the palate with attractive peach and stone fruits, the smoky notes come through on the finish – good acidity and very int...(more info)Alistair Cooper MW
2017 RAPOSO Rioja Sierra de Toloño
Rioja Alavesa Rioja Spain 13.5% Red
Dense purple core. Almost Malbec-like nose – blue fruits and violets. Has a chalky texture and slightly chewy but fine-grained tannins. Tight at the moment with good structure and fresh acidity....(more info)Alistair Cooper MW
2017 RIOJA Camino de Santa Cruz Sierra de Toloño
Rioja Alavesa Rioja Spain 14% Red
Subtle but intriguing nose that slowly revels itself in the glass. Black olive and thyme with nice herbal notes on the palate too. There is good freshness and layered structured tannins with the...(more info)Alistair Cooper MW
2017 LA DULA Sierra de Toloño
Rioja Alavesa Rioja Spain 14.5% Red
A varietal Garnacha from Riva de Tereso, the 2017 La Dula comes from a small 80-year-old plot planted in 1944, so production is extremely low. It's bottled unoaked and matured in amphorae to see...(more info)Luis Gutierrez, www.robertparker.com
2017 ESCONDITE DEL ARDACHO El Abundillano Tentenublo
Alavesa Rioja Spain 15.5% Red
This one-hectare field blend of Garnacha with 10% Tempranillo and Malvasía was planted at the turn of the last century on red clay and sand soils. The resulting wine is rich and well uphol...(more info)Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com
2016 ESCONDITE DEL ARDACHO Las Guillermas Tentenublo
Alavesa Rioja Spain 13.5% Red
Wonderful aromas of ripe blackberries warmed by the sun along with more 'sauvage' notes of crushed stems and pith on the palate. Like the Veriquete, but possibly more so, this has immense complex...(more info)L&S
2017 LOS CORRILLOS Blanco Tentenublo
Alavesa Rioja Spain 12% White
Jaén Blanca, Malvasía Riojana (Alarije), Viura.
One of Roberto’s limited production wines (1055 bottles), and as remarkable as all the others. Deep yellow gold. The nose in one sense gives little away at this early stage - delicate fresh straw...(more info)L&S
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