2017 Sierra de Toloño
A fruity and straight-up Rioja with crushed-berry and spice character. Medium to full body. Flavorful finish. Drink now. Rating: 90 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Jul 2019)
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The Sierra de Toloño, a village wine from the mountain vineyards, was the first wine produced here. The 2017 Sierra de Toloño has freshness and intense red fruit, and even in this northern part, the wine and the zone have some Mediterranean characteristics; it's a soft and juicy red with floral and red fruit aromas and round tannins polished by eight months in barrique. This is a fresh and easy-drinking Tempranillo with the roundness of a warm vintage in a cool zone. 26,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2017. Drinking range: 2019 - 2022 Rating: 90 Luis Gutierrez, www.robertparker.com(Jun 2019)
Fresh, young rioja from high-altitude vineyards from rioja specialist Tim Atkin’s young winemaker of the year, Sandra Bravo.Fiona Beckett, The Guardian - www.matchingfoodandwine.com(Apr 2019)
Picked and bottled early to preserve acidity and fruit respectively, this high-altitude, old-vine Tempranillo from Rivas de Tereso is intense, wild herb-scented and very lightly wooded, with youthful plum, black and red cherry fruit and real focus and zip. Rating: 91 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com(Feb 2019)
Sierra de Toloño
Sandra Bravo is a seriously exciting winemaker. Working with some of the highest altitude vineyards in Rioja – with plots of very old vines, she is hunting out freshness and purity. Having travelled the world and made wines in Bordeaux, Tuscany, New Zealand and California she has returned to Spain with her eyes wide open and a brave ambition to show the different expressions of Rioja. It does not all have to be blended, heavily-oaked, creamy and rich any more. Her delicately shaped – intensely pure wines are a revelation. With a range now of different releases each profiling a particular vineyard or a particular grape variety she is making some of the most drinkable and delicious wines in the region. No surprises she has been crowned the 2019 ‘Young Winemaker of the Year’ by Rioja expert, the wine critic Tim Atkin MW.
Sandra originally comes from Rioja, and returned there to start this project. 2012 was 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.
News 07/02/19 : Great to see Sandra Bravo getting the credit that she deserves from Tim Atkin, who has awarded her his young winemaker of the year - a great friend and brilliant winemaker, brava!
If you thought all Rioja was much the same - think again. This case will take you on a tour of the exciting, evolving landscape here. From the bigger, more traditional mellowness of Ruconia’s Reserva with its long barrel ageing, via the light bright and crisp elegance of Sandra Bravo's high altitude Sierra do Tolono, to the more exuberant full on fruit led style of the Artuke wines, this selection 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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