2013 Sierra de Toloño
This is winemaker Sandra Bravo's second vintage at this new project after stints in Bordeaux, Chianti, Marlborough, California and now Priorat. As before her signature delicate touch is in evidence and the quality of this pure fruit from very high vineyards is clear. Lively, lovely red Tempranillo fruit with a bit of bite – Very lively but with ample fruit weight – just a more slender profile than many in the region – delicious. L&S (Apr 2017)
*Case Price: Mix any 12 bottles of wine or buy 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits or Fortified (as a full pack) to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
After years making wine around the world, Sandra Bravo went back to her roots to start her own project. This second vintage from the highest and coolest vineyards in the area gives a lean Rioja, and while dense, sweet and lifted, the palate is tight, focused and gently oaked with complex, herbal depth. Rating: 89 Christelle Guibert, Decanter (Sep 2016)
If you're a Rioja lover but haven't come across Sierra de Toloño before, don't be surprised – 2013 is only the second vintage – but do get it on your radar. Sandra Bravo, Rioja-bred but Bordeaux, Chianti, Marlborough, California and Priorat-trained, has produced an enticingly sweet-scented, fine-boned, polished Tempranillo from some of Rioja's highest and coolest vineyards. Bravo, we are tempted to say. Rating: 89 www.thewinegang.com (Apr 2016)
Gentle cherry, dappled with herbaceous, mineral tones, winds around toasty oak to the elegant, savoury finish. Light and subtle. (Commended). Decanter World Wine Awards 2015 (Jul 2015)
Sierra de Toloño
Sandra Bravo comes from Rioja, and has returned there to start this project. 2012 is the first vintage. Sandra has trained in Bordeaux, Chianti, Marlborough, California, and is still currently winemaker for one othe bigger producers in Priorat. She has returned home to make a Rioja which reflects the land and climate of this particular corner of Rioja Alavesa. The wine comes from old goblet trained Tempranillo vines grown on calcareous clay are at 650m in Labastida - one of the highest vineyards of the Rioja region. The mountains of the Sierra de Toloño protect the vines from northerly winds and create a special microclimate, cold because it is so high, but dry with the Mediterranean influence despite being so far north. All this is perfect for the grapes to ripen fully over a long time in the bright light but relatively cool temperatures - the ripeness comes slowly, retaining natural acidity. The grapes are harvested into 15kg boxes, sorted at the vine, and taken to the winery in Laguardia. Here Sandra does a very conservative vinification, with a cold soak to start with to preserve the freshness of the fruit, and then only a gentle pigeage. After the vinification the wine is aged just six months in French oak barrels, and bottled without fineing of filtration. For the 2013 Sandra is delighted to have some amphorae, and will make a wine with no oak at all, aged just in these.
If you thought all Rioja was much the same - think again. From the big traditional mellow Ruconia Reserva with its long wood ageing, to the light bright and crisp elegance of Sandra Bravo's high altitude Sierra do Tolono, via the exuberant plumpness of the Joven Viña Diezmo and the restrained refreshment of the Artuke, this case encompasses so much of what is exciting and tasty about Rioja. Rioja - it may have been around for years, but it's bang up to date.
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