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Betz Family La Cote Rousse Syrah 2014 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their January 2020 edition article, Top Washington (State) Buys (see blue link below).

Betz Family La Cote Rousse Syrah 2014 - January 2020 Decanter review

Betz is a family run winery in Woodinville, Washington, headed up by Bob Betz MW. Their first vintage was in 1998, and today they have an annual production of 5,000 cases, of which two thirds goes to their domestic mailing list customers. The vineyards are located in the Columbia Valley, specifically in the Red Mountain, Horse Haven Hills, Yakima Valley and Snipes Mountain AVAs. Betz works very closely with long term growers that allow them to select specific rows and vines. The climate is sunny and dry, with the Cascade Mountain range acting as a cloud barrier, ensuring cloudless skies 300 days of the year. The vines are planted on their own roots, rather than on rootstocks, because phylloxera is not a problem in Washington State.

Fruit for this wine comes from the Red Mountain site in the Eastern Yakima Valley, planted at 325 to 420 metres, receiving an average of 12cm of rainfall per year. Soils are composed of Hezel sandy loam, shallow warden loam over scooteney, and some ancient riverbeds. This is the hottest of the three Betz Family Winery Syrah sites.

In the vineyards, 2014 marked the third year in a row for an early start for vine growth. Flowering took place under ideal weather conditions. The warm, calm weather resulted in one of the most compressed flowering periods in recent years, and very even berry size. This also meant that a large crop was hanging in the vineyards, which allowed growers to ‘green harvest’, a mid-season dropping of any bunches that were uneven or lagging behind in development. Steady heat continued through July and August, leading to the earliest harvest ever for Betz Family Winery with the first grapes picked on 3rd September. The wines reflect the steady weather and even grape ripeness.

The fruit was placed into open top fermenters where it remained for six to eight days. It was then transferred into a basket press before the wine went into barrel for malolactic fermentation. It was allowed to age for 12 months in 50% new French oak.

100% Syrah.

The 2014 La Côte Rousse displays the youthful, brooding, dark character expected from these Red Mountain sites. The superb ripening conditions are evident in its deep core of blue and black fruits. The use of whole cluster fermentation has added additional spicy aromatics along with smoked meats, crushed herbs and wood spice.

ABV = 14.2%.

£52.60

Blank Canvas Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2019 tasting/review of carbonic maceration reds (see blue link below).

Blank Canvas Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015 - July 2019 Decanter review

Matt Thomson has worked over forty vintages in numerous wine regions around the world. "Blank Canvas represents my story as a winemaker. It is an endeavour that is entirely my own expression of winemaking, is from my own funding, and is exclusively my risk". The 'Blank Canvas' is the vineyard and the variety, the winery the brush and palette (no pun intended) at the winemaker's disposal, all the while defined by the scientific grounding Matt laid at university and has built upon over the past 23 years. With partner Sophie Parker-Thomson, the aim is to break some rules with the Blank Canvas wines, but they feel in order to break the rules, you need to know them. This is what sets the Blank Canvas wines apart.

A parcel of special Syrah fruit was sourced from a single vineyard run by a good friend in Hawkes Bay’s famous Gimblett Gravels sub-region. The vineyard is over 15 years old with very low-yielding vines. The freedraining nature of the Gimblett Gravel soils with vineyards being situated on an historic riverbed facilitate this. The vines are VSP trained and cane-pruned on a single fruiting wire with high density planting.

The 2015 vintage in Hawkes Bay enabled a good fruit set in the Gimblett Gravels sub-region with a dry summer. The few rain events during early autumn were followed by cool windy periods which dried out the canopies and allowed the red varieties to continue to ripen. The 2015 was one of the earliest and driest in recent years.

In an unprecedented approach, Matt has co-fermented a select parcel of Syrah fruit with 7.5% Gruner Veltliner skins. This is a similar technique to what is done in Northern Rhone but with Austria’s hallmark white variety instead of France’s Viognier. Matt specifically chose Gruner so the finished wine would benefit from its white pepper note. 60% whole bunches were fermentated. The wine was hand-plunged and fermented by cultured and wild yeasts. Maturation of 10 months in new and seasoned French oak was carried out before the wine was blended and bottled unfiltered in March 2015.

100% Syrah (the Gruner skins above aside!).

Rich, powerful and brooding, the Blank Canvas Syrah is a world first for its inclusion of a unique co-fermentation partner, Gruner Veltliner. Black and red plum and boysenberry perufmes sit alongside savoury notes, particularly bacon. The black pepper and juniper of Syrah complement the white pepper notes of Gruner Veltliner. It has a velvet-like texture, fine tannins and acidity that only a cool-climate can deliver. It is incredibly dense and dark, yet hauntingly perfumed and elegant.

ABV = 13.0%.

£23.50

Bodega Garzon Balasto 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 panel tasting of South American Icon Wines (see blue link below).

Bodega Garzon Balasto 2016 - June 2019 Decanter review

When Alejandro Bulgheroni and his wife Bettina discovered Garzón, they had a family dream came true: to have the most emblematic winery of modern viticulture in Uruguay and premium wines with an intense personality and a deep sense of belonging to the land. With the advice of international enologist Alberto Antonini, they apply their philosophy which is focused on producing wines that are a true expression of their origins.

Located 11 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the estate has more than 1,000 small vineyard blocks covering hillside slopes, which benefit from varying microclimates, different levels of humidity and an intense canopy management. Well-draining granitic soils and cooling Atlantic breezes allow the grapes to ripen steadily. The vineyards are surrounded by lush forests, palm trees, rocky soils and granite boulders. Grapes for Balasto are grown on soils made up of decomposed granite rock, which provides excellent drainage and minerality. This is the key to giving this iconic Uruguayan wine its complexity, energy and vibrancy.

Balasto is one of the most sought-after wines from South America and is made only in the best years. Winter was rainy, meaning underground water reserves were replenished throughout the season, ahead of spring and summer. Spring then saw a cold start, which delayed bud burst and flowering by 10 days. The summer months were dry, but thanks to the water reserves and some occasional rains towards late December, veraison began normally. The dry conditions also reduced disease pressure in the vineyard. The dry weather continued into March until the second half of harvest, and therefore drip irrigation was necessary to obtain sufficient colour and maturity. 2016 yielded perfectly mature grapes without excessive levels of sugar. The resulting wines have excellent acidity and demonstrate freshness and elegance.

The hand-harvested grapes were macerated for five days before fermentation in 80 hectolitre cement tanks, at 26-28ºC for one week with twice daily pump overs. The wine was then transferred to a mix of 25 and 50 hectolitre untoasted French oak barrels (fourth use) for 20 months ageing before being bottled unfiltered.

45% Tannat, 25% Cabernet Franc, 18% Petit Verdot, 12% Marselan.

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Garzon and click here for a video on this icon wine.

Bodega Garzon Balasto 2016 - fiche technique

On the nose, this wine is rich with complex aromas of fresh red and black fruits, liquorice, spice and a hint of tobacco. Textural, full bodied and very elegant, the fruit is framed by juicy, vibrant tannins resulting in a wine of real vitality and expression.

ABV = 14.5%.

£65.95

Bodega Garzon Single Vineyard Petit Verdot 2017 (1x75cl)

Bodega Garzón is a family owned winery in Maldonado on the Atlantic coast in southern Uruguay. They pioneered viticulture in this area over 10 years ago, and have since become the standard-bearer for premium wines from Uruguay. In November 2018, their pioneering status was recognised by Wine Enthusiast with the ‘New World Winery of the Year’ award. The vineyards at Bodega Garzón are a patchwork quilt of 1,150 individual plots of around 0.2 hectares in size, each plot carefully chosen for a specific variety according to its soil and microclimate. The winery is specially designed to operate as sustainably as possible, and is the first winery outside North America to pursue LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Built on natural terraces, the winery uses cutting-edge technology and operates using a gravity system to ensure quality and energy efficiency at every stage of production.

Located 11 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the estate has more than 1,000 small vineyard blocks covering hillside slopes, which benefit from varying microclimates, different levels of humidity and an intense canopy management. Well-draining granitic soils and cooling Atlantic breezes allow the grapes to ripen steadily. The vineyards are surrounded by lush forests, palm trees, rocky soils and granite boulders. The north-facing orientation of this particular single vineyard maximises sun exposure, guaranteeing perfectly ripe Petit Verdot grapes.

Average seasonal temperatures meant bud burst and fruit set occurred between September and December. However, strong spring winds meant work had to be undertaken in the vineyard to tie the shoots to their trellises to prevent damage. The hard work continued as rains between December and January threatened the vines and careful canopy management became necessary. Summer was dry and hot, and drip irrigation was necessary. The leaves were left untrimmed to serve as sun protection for the grapes. Late rains at the end of March brought forward the end of harvest. The wines from 2017 are characterised by elegant acidity and freshness.

The hand-harvested grapes were macerated for five days before fermentation in 80 hectolitre concrete tanks, at 26-28ºC for one week with twice daily pump overs. The wine was then aged on lees for 12-18 months in 25 hectolitre French oak casks, for added complexity. The oak was untoasted and fourth use.

This wine is 100% Petit Verdot.

Intense violet-red in colour, the aromatic nose combines both red and black fruits (blueberry and cherry), hints of vanilla and black pepper spice. This is an elegant full-bodied wine, the fresh acidity and silky tannins framing the spicy ripe fruits and mineral notes. Harmonious and elegant.

ABV = 14.5%.

£25.20

Bodega Garzon Single Vineyard Tannat 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2019 edition panel tasting of Uruguayan Tannat (see blue link below).

Bodega Garzon Single Vineyard Tannat 2017 - October 2019 Decanter review

The 2016 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition article on the Maldonado region of Uruguay (see blue link below).

Bodega Garzón Single Vineyard Tannat 2016 - October 2019 Decanter review

Bodega Garzón is a family owned winery in Maldonado on the Atlantic coast in southern Uruguay. They pioneered viticulture in this area over 10 years ago, and have since become the standard-bearer for premium wines from Uruguay. In November 2018, their pioneering status was recognised by Wine Enthusiast with the ‘New World Winery of the Year’ award. The vineyards at Bodega Garzón are a patchwork quilt of 1,150 individual plots of around 0.2 hectares in size, each plot carefully chosen for a specific variety according to its soil and microclimate. The winery is specially designed to operate as sustainably as possible, and is the first winery outside North America to pursue LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Built on natural terraces, the winery uses cutting-edge technology and operates using a gravity system to ensure quality and energy efficiency at every stage of production.

Located 11 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the estate has more than 1,000 small vineyard blocks covering hillside slopes, which benefit from varying microclimates, different levels of humidity and an intense canopy management. Well-draining granitic soils and cooling Atlantic breezes allow the grapes to ripen steadily. The vineyards are surrounded by lush forests, palm trees, rocky soils and granite boulders. This single vineyard Tannat comes from a site which is cooler than the other blocks on the estate, with steep slopes, thin soils and excellent drainage thanks to the predominance of ballast in the upper layers.

Average seasonal temperatures meant bud burst and fruit set occurred between September and December. However, strong spring winds meant work had to be undertaken in the vineyard to tie the shoots to their trellises to prevent damage. The hard work continued as rains between December and January threatened the vines and careful canopy management became necessary. Summer was dry and hot, and drip irrigation was necessary. The leaves were left untrimmed to serve as sun protection for the grapes. Late rains at the end of March brought forward the end of harvest. The wines from 2017 are characterised by elegant acidity and freshness.

The hand-harvested grapes were macerated for five days before fermentation in 80 hectolitre cement tanks, at 26-28ºC for one week with twice daily pump overs. The wine was then aged on lees for 12-18 months in 25 hectolitre French oak casks for added complexity. The oak used was untoasted and fourth use.

This wine is 100% Tannat.

Deep purple in colour, this powerful Tannat has an elegant nose with aromas of cherries, strawberries and black plums with hints of smoky tobacco and dark chocolate. Full bodied, with fresh acidity and firm tannins complementing the spicy black fruit on a long, intense finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

£25.20

Bodega Norton Reserva Malbec 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition review of Big Brand South American wines (below £13!) (see blue link below).

Norton Reserva Malbec 2014 - October 2017 Decanter review

In 1885, the Buenos Aires to Mendoza railway opened, cementing the significance of this emerging wine-growing region high in the Andean foothills. Ten years later, Edmund Norton planted the first vines in Mendoza’s Luján de Cuyo district. At 900-1100 metres, the altitude moderates the temperature, causing an extended ripening season, and also expose the vines to more ultraviolet light, which encourages the development of colour and tannin in the black-skinned varieties. The result is whites packed with vibrant flavour and good natural acidity, and well-structured, food-friendly reds.

Half the blend comes from vineyards situated at 1100 metres above sea level in the Luján de Cuyo region of western Mendoza, and half comes from the Uco Valley to the south. The age of the vines is between thirty and fifty years. The grapes are hand-picked into small baskets, with hand selection of the berries. Following a five-day cold maceration, the wine underwent a fermentation with native yeasts for seven days at a temperature of 25°C. Maceration lasted for 25-30 days at 20°C, and the malolactic fermentation was 100% natural. The wine was aged for twelve months in first- and second-use French oak barrels, and then for ten months in bottle prior to release.

This wine is 100% Malbec.

Round and velvety, with flavours of ripe black fruit, violets, spices and tobacco. Long and complex on the finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£14.45

Bodegas Benito Urbina Gran Reserva 2004 (1x75cl)

Bodegas Urbina is a winery which has been in the Urbina family for four generations since 1870. The present winery was designed, built and run by the family in 1986 and was created to facilitate producing fine wines.  Urbina has 75 hectares of vineyards located at two main vineyard sites - the first is at Cuzcurrita de Rio Turon, a well-known area for producing Riojas capable of ageing for many years and the others are at Uruñuela, in the heart of the Rioja DOC, which consistently produces wines of great quality and body. The grapes used are from vines aged over 20 years old. The vines are grown in accordance with traditional practices, no herbicides and limited use of pesticides and fungicides. 

Urbina Gran Reserva is a blend of mainly Tempranillo with some Graciano and Mazuelo.

This wine comes from the best grapes from the Estate, all from vines over 40 years old. The wine making team is headed by Pedro Urbina. The wine is undergoes fermentation at 28C followed by a period of maceration of 28 days. The wine is aged for a minimum of 36 months in oak casks with a further 48 months in bottle before release. Only indigenous yeasts are used.

The Urbina Gran Reserva has a splendid ripe, complex nose, is reddish-garnet in colour with harmonious and well-balanced oak and fruit tannins.  It also displays intense rich fruit, great finesse and velvet smoothness on the palate.  It goes perfectly with slow roasted lamb shoulder or with game - particularly duck and pheasant.

ABV = 14.0%.

£23.50

Bodegas Benito Urbina Urbina Gran Reserva Especial 1994 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Mature Rioja (see blue link below).

Bodegas Benito Urbina Gran Reserva 1994 - March 2018 Decanter review

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2017 edition review of premium Rioja (see blue link below).

Bodegas Benito Urbina Gran Reserva 1994 - March 2017 Decanter review

... and awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2016 edition review of best-buy Rioja (see blue link below).

Bodegas Benito Urbina Gran Reserva 1994 - March 2016 Decanter review

Bodegas Urbina is a family run winery with four generations of dedication to grape growing and winemaking since 1870. The present winery was designed, built and run by the family Urbina since 1986 and has been created solely to facilitate the production of fine wines. Commercial winemaking within the DOC Rioja dates from 1870 and takes place in ancient underground Cuzcurrita drafts.

This wine comes from the best grapes grown on the Estate and it is made using grapes from vines that are all more than 20 years old. It is fermented at a controlled temperature of 28°C and is macerated for the final 28 days, followed by at least 36 months in oak and a further 48 months ageing in bottle.

This wine was made using 90% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo.

The Urbina Gran Reserva 1994 is a dark ruby colour with a thin mahogany rim. It has a complex nose, showing splendid maturity, with mineral aromas, ripe fruit, figs, cherries, plums, tomato jam and dried apricots, cigar box, cherry blossom, harmonious and well defined spicy hints of cinnamon, vanilla and clove. Some leather, snuff leaves and nutmeg. There is also a hint of musk, incense and kola nut.  it has a base of toffee candy, and balsamic notes, so is both fresh and elegant. On the palate, the flavours are harmonious and balanced, with oak and fruit tannins, showing great elegance and velvety softness, as well as a wonderful length.

ABV = 14.0%.

£28.90

Bodegas Bhilar Lagrimas de Graciano Rioja 2018 (1x75cl)

The wines of Bhilar are undeniably 'Rioja' but with a whole lot of terroir-driven, nature-loving soul. The neighbours (and his grandmother) thought David Sampedro Gil was mad when he began farming biodynamically. The wines he makes have wonderful elegance, freshness and lovely herbal influences. Think thyme, eucalyptus, nutmeg and lavender with a big hit of morello cherries.

But back to the beginning... why did his neighbours think he was crazy? Well, his overgrown, weed-covered plots looked nothing like their neat and tidy vineyards. They thought he was smothering them, when in fact, he was reviving the overworked land by eliminating chemicals and re-introducing biodiversity.

Today, David and his wife Melanie Hickman maintain three simple mantras for their winemaking; Village wines with a sense of place, Village Estate wines with an expression of character and for the Single Vineyards – provocative expression. So give them a taste, we promise you won't see Rioja in the same light again.

Thsi wine is 100% Graciano sourced from grapes grown in the villages of Laguardia, Leza and Páganos. Fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete vats where it is matured for six months with lees before bottling. It's a rare opportunity to taste 100% Graciano from the cool-climate region of Rioja.

This bright and refreshing wine has concentrated aromas and flavours of red fruits, liquorice and eucalyptus. Full-bodied, with an elegant balance of freshness, fruitiness and tannins.

ABV = 14.0%.

£11.00

Bodegas Bilbainas Vina Pomal Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 (1x75cl)

The 2010 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Mature Rioja (see blue link below).

Vina Pomal Gran Reserva Rioja 2010 - March 2018 Decanter review

Their vineyards are located close to the winery, in the municipality of Haro. 250 hectares of vines make it the largest property in the area, and the Reserva and Gran Reserva are a true reflection of the area. With an average vine age in excess of 25 years, they endeavour to make wines with the utmost balance. The Tempranillo is enhanced with the addition of Graciano, which only matures in great vintages. Those are the vintages when they make Gran Reserva, as it is not made every year.

2011 was a year marked by a dry winter and a rainy spring which favoured vine growth. Fruit setting was irregular due to the rains in May and June. The harvest was characterised by a lack of rain and it commenced early on. A very dry summer with high temperatures speeded up final ripening. In some cases we detected a great deal of vine stress due to drought with a slight imbalance between alcoholic and phenolic ripening. On the other hand, vineyards that usually present more vigour ripened very well this year, yielding good berry quality, Vine health was practically perfect. With proper aging, in order to soften their structure, the wines show a great deal of intensity and cellaring potential.

Viña Pomal Gran Reserva is made following traditional vinification methods. The grapes are selected manually in the vineyards. At the winery, they are destemmed and crushed before undergoing a moderately long maceration in tanks. After alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, the wines are racked and aged in 225 litre Bordeaux barrels, traditionally American oak. After ageing in barrels for one year, the wine is racked back to tanks. This is when the blend for the Gran Reserva is determined, and 10% Graciano, a minority Rioja variety, is added to the Tempranillo. The wine is fined with egg whites and put in barrels again for another year to complete its two years’ ageing in oak. After its stay in barrels, the wine spends a further year in oak vats, where the natural cleaning and assembly process concludes. After ageing for another three years in the bottle, the vinification of this unique Rioja wine is complete.

Tempranillo 90%, Graciano 10%. 
 
Garnet and cherry hues introduce this bright Gran Reserva with light orange reflections on the rim. The unique vinification process of this Gran Reserva provides a complex, elegant nose with notes of liquorice and red fruit, typical of the Tempranillo, along with hints of spices subtly added by the Graciano. During bottle ageing, all of this is assembled with toasty and balsamic aromas (vanilla, pepper, tobacco) contributed by the barrels. As the wine airs in the glass, it discloses its full range of nuances and complex aromas. In the mouth, it reflects our surroundings, with a mild entry and a sense of elegance and balance, ending in long persistence, denoting the craft of barrel ageing and the assemblage provided by a long stay in the bottle.

The winemaker does not consider that it is necessary to decant this wine which is ready to drink now and over the next ten years.

ABV = 14.0%.

£26.15

Bodegas Escudero Arvum 2005 (1x75cl)

The Es­cud­ero fam­i­ly owns 150 hectares of vine­yards. The vines av­er­age 50 years of age, and some are more than a cen­tu­ry old. The fourth gen­er­a­tion of the Escudero family have tak­en on the var­i­ous re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the com­pa­ny including viti­cul­ture, man­age­ment and ad­min­is­tra­tion. They have an immense re­spect for the en­vi­ron­ment and always follow their com­mit­ment to of­fer­ing cus­tomers excellent quality wines. Arvum is made as a tribute to their parents.

To see the Escudero family's tasting notes and technical sheet for this wine please click on the blue link below.

Bodegas Escudero Arvum 2005 - fiche technique

ABV = 14.0%.

£33.95

Bodegas Lan A Mano Rioja 2016 (1x75cl)

Winemaking at LAN follows a principle: "extreme respect for our grapes, preserving the vineyard’s distinctive features in each of the stages of fermentation and ageing, both in the barrel and in the bottle. We manage each tank individually, based on the destination it has been assigned. Such respect implies preparation, manual selection, creativity, tradition and modernity -all these elements play a part in endeavour to outdue ourselves every day. A painstaking oak selection along with malolactic fermentation in new barrels transform our estate’s musts into pleasant, unctuous and round wines."

To make the Bodegas Lan A Mano Rioja, 87% Tempranillo, 9% Mazuelo and 4% Graciano grapes were hand-harvested from 35 and 40 year-old vines in the “Viña Lanciano” estate. The grapes were hand selected in two sorting tables so that only those in perfect condition were allowed into the next phase of vinification. Malolactic fermentation took place in new French oak barrels. During this process, the lees were stirred weekly to ensure maximum colour and tannin extraction as well as a fuller mouthfeel. The wine spent 7 months in new French oak barriques and a further 6 months in new Russian oak barrels. The wine was bottled unfiltered and unclarified to maintain all the subtle aromas and flavours. This also resulted in producing natural sediment that may be found inside the bottle.

The 2016 harvest was delayed by at least a week compared to the average over the last 10 years, which was mainly due to low spring temperatures. After a very dry start in winter, spring rainfalls allowed good vegetative growth before flowering. Berries were small due to the lack of rainfall during the summer, and the resulting red wines have extraordinary depth of colour. Good climatic conditions during the last stages of ripening provided very healthy grapes, with optimum balance between technical and phenolic ripeness.

The grapes were hand harvested and selected by bunch and berry at the winery. After the initial fermentation, malolactic fermentation took place in new French oak barrels. During this process, the lees were stirred weekly to ensure maximum colour and tannin extraction as well as a fuller body. The wine spent eight months in new French oak barrels and a further seven months in new Russian oak barrels. It is bottled unfiltered and unclarified.

Intense garnet colour with bright red hues. Complex yet attractive nose of ripe fruit (plums, blackberry, and redcurrant), hints of sweet spice (clove, cinnamon), layers of coffee, cigar-box and the earthiness and minerality characteristic of all the wines made with the grapes sourced from the “Viña Lanciano” estate.  This wine is ideal to enjoy on its own. It also works well when combined with grilled meats, spicy dishes and aged cheese.

ABV = 13.5%.

£40.20

Bodegas Lan Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 (1x75cl)

The 2010 vintage was awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition review of 2010 Riojas (see blue link below).

Bodegas Lan Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 - March 2019 Decanter review

Founded in 1972, Bodegas LAN lies in the heart of Rioja Alta. The name LAN comes from the initials of the three provinces of the Rioja Designation of Origin: Logroño, Álava and Navarra. María Barua has been the head winemaker and technical director since 2002, and brings both scientific expertise (with an academic background in chemistry in addition to her oenology degree) and local knowledge (having been born and raised in Rioja). Together with her young and energetic team, María focuses on using the latest advances in winemaking to ‘express the virtues of the land’.

The Tempranillo grapes are selected from 30-year-old, low yielding bush vines in the Rioja Alta region, while the Mazuelo comes from Bodegas LAN's stunning Viña Lanciano vineyard, located on a meander of the Ebro river, where the soils are poor and stony. Proximity to the river helps to regulate the warm temperatures often present in Rioja.

Like many parts of Western Europe, Spain experienced a cool growing season in 2010. But since the country is one of the hottest and driest in Europe, the cool weather was a boon, allowing fruit to ripen gradually. In Rioja, rainstorms during flowering reduced yields. Summer was dry and warm with great diurnal temperature ranges continuing through to harvest, resulting in wines with excellent flavour profiles.

The grapes for this Gran Reserva were destemmed and fermented in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 30ºC. The wine was then macerated for three weeks, pumping over the must daily to favour higher extraction of colour and aromas. The wine was aged for 24 months in American oak and French oak barrels, followed by a minimum of 36 months in the bottle.

Winemaking at LAN follows a principle: "extreme respect for our grapes, preserving the vineyard’s distinctive features in each of the stages of fermentation and ageing, both in the barrel and in the bottle. We manage each tank individually, based on the destination it has been assigned. Such respect implies preparation, manual selection, creativity, tradition and modernity -all these elements play a part in endeavour to outdue ourselves every day. A painstaking oak selection along with malolactic fermentation in new barrels transform our estate’s musts into pleasant, unctuous and round wines."

94% Tempranillo , 6% Mazuelo.

On the nose, aromas of ripe red fruits combine with dried fruits and spicy vanilla, cinnamon and liquorice root notes, which are a result of the extended oak ageing. This wine is full bodied and round Rioja that is elegant, balanced and superbly layered on the palate.

A wine for a special occasion. Recommended to pair with roasted meats, lamb, hearty stews and cured cheeses.

ABV = 13.5%.

£21.65

Bodegas LAN Rioja Reserva 2012 (1x75cl)

Bodegas LAN is located in the heart of Rioja Alta. Founded in 1972, Bodegas LAN was named after the initials of the three provinces in the Rioja Designation of Origin: Logroño (now La Rioja), Álava and Navarra. María Barua has been the head winemaker and technical director since 2002, and brings both scientific expertise, with an academic background in chemistry in addition to her oenology degree, and local knowledge, being born, raised and educated in Rioja. She and her young and energetic team focus not only on understanding the technical details of winemaking, but also on ‘expressing the virtues of the land’.

Grapes are selected from 30-40 year old vines from Bodegas LAN’s longstanding winegrowers in the Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa subzones. Sloped plots of calcerous clay soils with good drainage and sun exposure produce grapes of excellent flavour concentration.

The 2012 vintage was marked by drought, which influenced both grape volume and grape quality in some places, but also resulted in a significant quantity of very high quality wine. Rains in late September had a positive effect on ripening, and harvested grapes were well balanced and healthy. The Rioja Control Board rated the 2012 vintage ‘Very Good’.

Fermentation took place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, at temperatures between 28-30°C and lasted for three weeks. During fermentation, pumping over was used to maximise extraction of colour and flavour. The wine was then aged in a mixture of American and French oak for a minimum of 16 months, followed by a 24-month period of bottle ageing.

92% Tempranillo, 8% Mazuelo.

This wine is intense garnet in colour. Aromas of bright red fruits are layered with notes of vanilla and spices from oak ageing. The palate is exceptionally well structured and fleshy. The complex fruit and oak aromas are concentrated and long-lasting on the finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£15.75

Bodegas Lan Rioja Reserva 2012 magnum (1x1.5L)

Bodegas LAN is located in the heart of Rioja Alta. Founded in 1972, Bodegas LAN was named after the initials of the three provinces in the Rioja Designation of Origin: Logroño (now La Rioja), Álava and Navarra. María Barua has been the head winemaker and technical director since 2002, and brings both scientific expertise, with an academic background in chemistry in addition to her oenology degree, and local knowledge, being born, raised and educated in Rioja. She and her young and energetic team focus not only on understanding the technical details of winemaking, but also on ‘expressing the virtues of the land’.

Grapes are selected from 30-40 year old vines from Bodegas LAN’s longstanding winegrowers in the Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa subzones. Sloped plots of calcerous clay soils with good drainage and sun exposure produce grapes of excellent flavour concentration.

The 2012 vintage was marked by drought, which influenced both grape volume and grape quality in some places, but also resulted in a significant quantity of very high quality wine. Rains in late September had a positive effect on ripening, and harvested grapes were well balanced and healthy. The Rioja Control Board rated the 2012 vintage ‘Very Good’.

Fermentation took place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, at temperatures between 28-30°C and lasted for three weeks. During fermentation, pumping over was used to maximise extraction of colour and flavour. The wine was then aged in a mixture of American and French oak for a minimum of 16 months, followed by a 24-month period of bottle ageing.

92% Tempranillo, 8% Mazuelo.

This wine is intense garnet in colour. Aromas of bright red fruits are layered with notes of vanilla and spices from oak ageing. The palate is exceptionally well structured and fleshy. The complex fruit and oak aromas are concentrated and long-lasting on the finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£31.20
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