A traditional red Rioja, smooth vanilla oak and lovely strawberry and cream Tempranillo fruit.
We pop a bit of Garnacha
and Mazuelo in to the blend as "seasoning" - as the winemaker explains; it just gives some structure and weight.
"Complex, intense and spicy with developing toast, plums and cherries. Fresh peppery minerality." Decanter
Drink now +1 year
Decanter World Wine Awards 2012
International Wine Challenge 2011
International Wine Challenge 2010
Decanter World Wine Awards 2010
The Rioja region of Spain
Rioja has long held the crown as one of, if not the, most famous Spanish wine.
Sprawling for 120km along both sides of the bank of the Ebro river in northern Spain, the region’s name is actually derived from a combination of the words rio (river) and Oja, the name of a tributary off the Ebro.
Rioja is divided into three distinct sub-regions: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja.
Rioja Alta is has a large amount of clay in its vineyards and, much as the name suggests, the wines are at relatively higher altitudes. This has the largest vineyard plantings of the three.
The smallest area, Rioja Alavesa has terraced vineyards and feels less distinctly Spanish because of its very strong Basque influence, which can be seen not only in the language but in the local funding its wine industry has received, as the region boasts some state of the art technology and wineries.
The third region, Rioja Baja has soils that are also very compacted with clay and as the warmest of the three sub-regions, has wines that generally higher in alcohol.
Red Rioja is dominated by the grape variety Tempranillo, but blends seamlessly with Garnacha and Graciano, while Mazuelo (Carignan) is also coming back in favour, and as the internationalisation of the wine industries leaves no stone unturned, Cabernet Sauvignon can be found here too.
Rioja, as a wine style (as opposed to a region) is given various classifications, according to how long the wine has been aged; Crianza must be aged for a minimum of 2 years, one of which must be in oak; Reservas must be aged for at least 3 years, one of which must be in oak; and Gran Reservas, which are usually only produced in the best vintages, can only be released after ageing for 5 years, 3 of which must be in oak.
White Rioja is not uncommon either, an uncomplicated white wine that is largely made up from a combination of Viura (Macabeo), Garnacha Blanc and Malvasia Riojana and not does challenge the region’s red counterpart in terms of quality.
Considered to be Spain's leading red grape variety, Tempranillo is the major constituent for Rioja and it is this Spanish region that has excelled this varietal's popularity. In Portugal, where it is also a favourite, you will see Tempranillo under many names including Ull de Lebre, Cencibel and Tinto del País. Tempranillo has quite a restricted range, hence it has not been greatly undertaken by the New World. Only in Argentina could Tempranillo plantings be deemed extensive although experimentation in other New World countries is increasing.
As Rioja is aged in the barrel it is mature when shipped. Therefore it is easy to note that Rioja, with its structure and strong fruit extraction, is a good wine for ageing profiting from further development in the bottle.
Known in Spain as Garnacha and in France as Grenache, this grape produces a range in styles of red wine from young and fruity to big, bold and with lots of potential to age. Planted in Southern France and Northern Spain, it has travelled to Australia, Chile, Argentina and the US to produce some great results.
It is a grape that can produce a lot of volume and this had a fairly poor reputation until recently when a generation of new winemakers went back to the winemaking techniques of their forefathers, training the vines to produce less fruit to create a wine with much more concentration and character.
Mazuelo or Cariñena in Spain is also known as Carignano in Italy and this grape variety is most widely planted in the South of France and Northern Spain. It produces a full-bodied wine with attractive aromas of plum jam and red fruits. When it is produced from old vines that yield small amounts of grapes it makes really exceptional wines.
Salads & Vegetables
This wine works well with chargrilled and roasted vegetables as well as smoked and cured meats and mushrooms.
Fish & Seafood
A good meaty fish is best served with this wine. A lightly grilled tuna steak or a nice piece of salmon will go down a treat.
Pasta & Other Sauces
This wine works well with tomato based sauces such as bolognese. It will also go with wild mushroom risotto and truffle based sauces.
Flavourful meats such as beef, pheasant and duck are perfectly paired to this wine or try it with a good sausage casserole and cured meats such as Parma ham.
Herbs & Spices
A broad range of herbs and spices such as mint, nutmeg, garlic and chives can be used to draw out the flavours of this wine.
Spanish and Italian dishes work well with this wine - think tuscan beans and arrabbiata.
Tastes delicious served with goat's cheese, cambozola, and mature Cheddar.