Founded in 1957 by Guillermo Eguren, Sierra Cantabria is nestled in the heart of San Vicente de la Sonsierra, a town of great winemaking tradition, situated in a unique location between the River Ebro and the Sierra Cantabria mountain range. The Sierra Cantabria mountain range (1,200 m altitude) and the river Ebro (350 m), create a special microclimate with Mediterranean and Continental characteristics - providing mild winters and gentle summers - unique for vine cultivation. On the other hand, the summer thermal jump (intense heat during the day with fresh night temperatures) creates an increase in the level of polyphenols, normally associated with excellent quality wines.
100% Tempranillo. Traditional harvesting with 100% destemming. Controlled fermentation between 26º and 28º C with native yeasts. Maceration on skins for 24 days, with two daily pumpings over.
Ageing: 15 months in barriques of French and American oak, almost all pre-used (but never for more than 3 uses).
A smooth and elegant Crianza from this esteemed Rioja producer, which deftly balances fruit and oak. This is arguably Sierra Cantabria's most admired wine due to its incredible value and delicate but complex style. Ripe cherry and red fruit, hints of spice and smoke, and a dusting of cocoa combine to form an elegant, complex Rioja with layers of oak and fruit.
The wine has an intense dark purple hue and a peppery nose with hints of warm beetroot, freshly turned earth and forest fruits. The full bodied palate has aromatic notes of violet and smoke that accompany the concentrated fruit flavours of blackberry, blackcurrant and plum. The silky tannins provide an excellent balance to the intense, creamy textures of this seductive wine.
** ARRIVING NOW INTO THE UK!!" **
Awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Best Northwest Spanish Red) at the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below)...
In their single vineyard wines Abadia Retuerto seek to bring out, above all, the true character of the terroir. Pago Negralada comes from a plot of Tempranillo, the noblest Spanish grape variety. The vines are planted in deep gravel soils intermixed with sand at the surface, and produce wines with a distinctive firm, tannic character.
Having aged 18 months in new French oak barrels, the wine has now developed its full potential. Its full ripeness comes to the fore with layers of fragrant strawberry fruit, liquorice, herbs and minerals with soft, silky tannins on the palate.
The Pago Negralada has a very intense, fresh nose, with aromas of wild black fruit and subtle creamy notes. Following on from the vibrancy of the nose, the palat attack invades then the palate with delicacy, leading to an ample wine, solid, meaty and oily with unusual refined tannins for a Tempranillo. It has a very long finish which is well marked with the character of the varietal. Abadia Retuerto are of the opinion that this is probably their best ever Pago Negralada.
This wine obtained several international awards and recognitions in the most prestigious wine tasting events. With its great ageing potential, this is a wine for the long haul, a wine with its roots firmly in the past and its sights set on future triumphs.
This is Abadia Retuerta's best-known wine worldwide and accounts for some 80% of all their production.
Using the best grapes from each of their vineyards, it combines the richness of a Tempranillo (70%) and the elegance of a Cabernet Sauvignon (13%) with the strength of a Syrah (17%).]
Aged 16 months in French and American oak barrels, the wood infuses notes of cedar, pastry and dark roasting.
Dark red colour with a clean, complex and fresh nose. On the palate, it has an intense fruity touch, mainly of red fruits. It attacks the palate politely but firmly.
This is a very well-balanced wine, harmonious, with a rich bouquet and incredible expressiveness.
The 2013 vintage has been awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Spanish Value Wines (under £20); (see blue link below).
Bodegas Beronia is quintessentially Rioja. Its wines are defined by the region and the soils in which the vines are grown, and its name linked to the history of the land where the winery is found. In the 3rd Century BC the area known as Rioja today was inhabited by a celtic tribe called the ‘Berones’. They inhabited the towns of Tricio, Varea and Leiva, marking the limits of the Berones region, today La Rioja. The founding ethos of Beronia is strongly allied to the origins of La Rioja.
Beronia was founded in 1973 by a group of businessmen, friends from the Basque country who would come to La Rioja on holiday. The friends had a great love of food and wine and created their own gastronomic society in the area. They decided to produce their own wines to enjoy with the local cuisine, specialising in Reserva and Gran Reserva style wines. Today Beronia is one of the most renowned Spanish wineries both in international and domestic markets, producing pure and traditional Rioja wines.
This wine is produced following a selection of the best grapes from the oldest vineyards. The grapes undergo prefermentative maceration followed by a slow and controlled fermentation with periodic pumping over to extract colour and aromas. Following this the wine is aged in mixed oak barrels of American Staves and French tops for 20 months to allow a paused and harmonic evolution. The American oak gives a sweet character of vanilla and coconut while the French oak gives spice, making for the perfect balance. This Reserva was bottled in November 2013 and was aged in bottle for 18 months before being released to the market.
Beronia Reserva shows an intense cherry red colour. On the nose, attractive aromas of candied fruits and plum conserve are in perfect harmony with sweet chocolate. On the palate this wine proves itself as being of great character with elegant tannins which give the wine both structure and body. It has a long finish.
This wine is perfect to serve with red meats, game and roasts.
Graciano is relatively scarce in the Rioja region, normally only used in blends with Tempranillo as it is ideal for ageing due to its high levels of acidity. It is an interesting variety which gives a unique aroma that is much more intense than other varieties in Rioja. During alcoholic fermentation great colour extraction takes place. The wine is then aged in new French oak barrels for six months. This wine was bottled in September 2014 and was released to the market after 6 months of sitting in bottle.
Beronia Graciano 2012 shows an intense black cherry colour. On the nose it has intense aromas of petals and red fruits. Touches of green pepper blended with dried fruits almonds and walnuts. On the palate it is fresh and lively with balanced acidity. There are chocolate notes as well as hints of cranberry and cocoa. This is an elegant, fresh and well structured wine with sweet tannins and a velvety texture.
2013 vintage Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2016 edition review of best-buy Rioja (see blue link below).
The grapes for this wine were collected at the beginning of October. Following harvest, the grapes underwent cold maceration for a few days in order to extract aromas and colour (but not tannins). Alcoholic fermentation took place at a (low) temperature of less than 26ºC with periodic pumping over. The wine was then aged in mixed oak barrels of American staves and French tops for 12 months giving both vanilla notes from the American oak and spice from the French oak. The wine was bottled in January 2016 and remained in bottle for 3 months before being released to the market.
This Beronia Crianza shows an intense cherry colour. Attractive nose with red fruits and floral aromas in perfect harmony with mineral and cocoa notes. A balanced and sweet palate with the fruit and liquorice standing out over a base of chocolate and coffee. Persistant and well structured.
This wine is made using the following grapes: 82% Tempranillo, 14% Garnacha and 4% Mazuelo.
This Beronia Crianza shows an intense cherry colour. Attractive nose with red fruits and floral aromas in perfect harmony with mineral and cocoa notes. A balanced and sweet palate with the fruit standing out over a base of chocolate and coffee from the time spent in American oak.
Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Mature Rioja (see blue link below).
For the production of this Gran Reserva, the best grapes from the oldest vineyards were hand-harvested. Following the harvest, the best bunches were selected in the winery. The grapes then underwent a slow and controlled alcoholic fermentation with periodic pumping over to extract colour and aromas. Following this, the wine remained in French oak barrels for 26 months.
Beronia Gran Reserva 2009 shows a powerful and deep maroon colour. On the nose, it is intense and complex with dried fruits (such as dates) standing out over a base of chocolate and sweet spice from the French oak. On the palate this wine is silky and meaty with pleasant tannins, giving structure and complexity. This wine shows great personality with body, elegance and intense flavours.
This Gran Reserva is best when decanted before serving due to the long time it has spent ageing in the bottle. It is ideal when served with red meats, game, mature cheeses and also with chocolate desserts. Drink it now or you can keep this wine until 2024 before opening it.
Bodegas Beronia is quintessentially Rioja. Its wines are defined by the region and the soils in which the vines are grown, and its name linked to the history of the land where the winery is found. In the 3rd Century BC the area known as Rioja today was inhabited by a celtic tribe called the ‘Berones’. The founding ethos of Beronia is strongly allied to the origins of La Rioja. Beronia was founded in 1973 by a group of businessmen, friends from the Basque country who would visit La Rioja on holiday. They decided, to produce their own wines to enjoy with the local cuisine, specialising in Reserva and Gran Reserva style wines. Today Beronia is one of the most renowned Spanish wineries, producing traditional Rioja wines with personality and Beronia style.
This unique wine undergoes double fermentation, both alcoholic and malolactic, in American oak barrels. The wine remains for a total of 9 months in the same barrels with periodic batonage. Bottled in March 2015 the wine will continue ageing for a minimum of 6 months before being released to the market.
Intense and deep cherry colour with high intensity. An unusual nose with red fruits and notes of chocolate, cocoa, liquorice and cinnamon from the American oak. Shows a harmonious palate with the cherry dominating. Well integrated oak after 9 months in barrel. Round and fresh, ideal for those looking for something different.
Perfect with smoked meats or fish, patés and cured meats. Recomended consumption over the next 5 years.
We like this because it is a stunning, unusual, boutique-but-affordable Rioja made from 100% Tempranillo (rare in a Rioja, more the preserve of Riberas) that is full-bodied and fruit-packed with a lighter balance of oak.
Awarded 89 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Spanish Value Wines (under £20); (see blue link below).
Bodega Tajinaste was established in 1977 by the Garćia Farráis family in the Orotava Valley on Tenerife. Working with indigenous varieties, the modern winery respects family and regional traditions, as well the unique geography high altitude vineyards and volcanic soil of Tenerife, to create wines of great character and individuality.
On paper, Tenerife’s climate would appear to be too hot and humid for the production of good quality dry wines, but, to off-set the heat, vines are planted at altitude on the slopes of Pico del Teide (the world’s third largest active volcano). The winds of the Atlantic also reduce temperatures and bring much needed moisture.
The volcanic soil imparts a wealth of minerals to the vines and was also important in preventing phylloxera from taking hold on the islands. As a consequence, there is a wealth of old ungrafted vines and unusual indigenous varieties. The oldest vines at Tajinaste were planted in 1914 under a traditional trellised system which is unique to the Canary Islands: el cordon trenzado (the braided cord). This is a multiple cordon with a number of the vine’s branches braided together.
The grapes were manually harvested before undergoing a four day cold maceration before fermentation was allowed to begin. Malolactic fermentation also occurred and 30% of the wine was aged in American oak barrels.
This wine is of a dark cherry colour with violet tones. Clean and pleasant, the highlights of the nose are the aromas of berries, cranberries, cherries, plums and balsamic hints. The flavours are smooth, with good structure for a young red wine.
This is an ideal wine to accompany sausages and meats such as veal or pork. Excellent with sofritos and "tapas". This is a soft red to enjoy with good charcuterie and hard cheeses. It is also an interesting accompaniement to fish dishes.
Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2017 edition review of premium Riojas (see blue link below)...
... and also 89 points in the March 2018 edition review of Mature Rioja.
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.
The Urbina Gran Reserva is harvested by hand and the skins remain in contact with the must for 28 days. It is then fermented at a temperature of 28°C using indigenous yeast. The wine is matured for 24 months in American oak before being bottled and matured for another 48 months before being released for sale.
The Urbina Gran Reserva 1996 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.
Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Spanish Value Wines (under £20); (see blue link below).
Rafa Bernabé and his wife Olga set up their project in order to help protect local traditional viticulture, especially as there was a risk of some vineyards being sold to property developers. The vineyards are all dry grown, old bush vines with very small yields. Rafa respects this sense of place by intervening as little as possible both in the vineyard and in the winery. The wines are made organically.
The grapes come from the Finca Usaldón (Villena-Alicante) parcel of land "El Motor de la Amistad" which is at an altitude of between 700 - 730 meters above sea level. The soil here is mainly limestone and decomposed granite with shingle and large pebbles, making it a striking landscape.
The grapes are harvested manually before the fermentation, which uses only indigenous yeast, takes place in concrete amphorae. The wine is then allowed to age in the amphorae for 4 months before being bottled with no filtration or fining process taking place.
La Amistad is cherry red in colour. It's nose is fresh and approachable with ripe red fruit and some floral hints as well as herbal touches. It is a fresh, lively and fruity red which is very drinkable and has a lovely mineral note on the finish.
This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
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).
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.
The 2010 vintage was officially rated as excellent in the DOCa Rioja. It has proved to be an extraordinary year, with great balance and very aromatic, well-structured wines.
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.
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.