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Tempranillo

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Abadia Retuerta Seleccion Especial 2016 (1x75cl)

Situated in the historic area of Sardón de Duero in Ribera del Duero is the small, premium artisanal winery of Abadia Retuerta, comprised of a patchwork of 54 individual vineyard plots, each planted with a single variety, and each with starkly different characteristics. Winemaker Pascal Delbeck - proprietor of Château Ausone - has an fascination with international varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc – and he makes great use of them. He is also at the forefront of a movement to get Castillo y Leon - currently Vino de la Tierra - recognised as a DO.

The Selección Especial is Abadia Retuerta's best-known wine worldwide and accounts for some 80% of all their production.

Produced from a selection of the best grapes from each of their vineyards, it combines the richness of a Tempranillo and the elegance of a Cabernet Sauvignon with the strength of a Syrah.

This wine is aged for 16 months in French and American oak barrels. During this time the wood infuses notes of cedar, pastry and notes of toast into the wine.

Tempranillo 100%.

Intense dark garnet color, vivid and bright. The nose shows great aromatic complexity of cherry liqueur notes and subtle nuances of dark chocolate, together with a background of redfruit and blackberries. The palate is warm and delicate, silky tannins enhance its refinement and roundness. Its balanced acidity and surprising freshness are well integrated into a subtle and long finish making this Selección Especial a wine of a sharp elegance.

ABV = 14.5%.

£25.25

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%.

£23.90

El Coto, Coto de Imaz Rioja Gran Reserva 2012 (1x75cl)

** MORE STOCK ON/BY WEDS 12th AUGUST **

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

El Coto was founded in 1970 in Rioja Alavesa and has grown from modest beginnings into one of the best known of Rioja producers. Today El Coto has over 700 hectares of vineyard in production across the three Rioja DOCa sub-zones of Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa. They also source grapes from all three areas, but mostly from Rioja Alavesa. Head winemaker Cesar Fernandez oversees production, starting with hand-picking into 350 kg crates to ensure the grapes arrive at the winery in pristine condition. Modern and intelligently designed, the emphasis in the winery is on temperature control and gentle handling of the grapes.

Grapes for the two Coto de Imaz wines are picked exclusively from El Coto's estate in Cenicero in Rioja Alta, where the soils are limestone and clay.

The 2012 vintage was marked by drought, which had an effect on 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/Consejo Regulador rated the 2012 vintage Very Good.

After harvest, only the best grapes were selected for this wine, as the maceration on the skin lasts for three to four weeks. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at 22-27ºC. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation. The resulting wine was then aged in new French and American oak for a minimum of 24 months before bottling.

The Gran Reserva has a brilliant ruby-red colour with tinges of brick red. Mature and elegant, the wine’s rich aromatic complexity is initially subtle, revealing itself more and more as the wine breathes. Toasted oak nuances and coconut give way to notes of leather and damp earth from bottle ageing. On the palate, silky, rounded tannins accompany fresh red berries, dried raisins and spicy notes. This is a complex wine with exceptional concentration and a long finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£21.20

Felix Solis Avantis Heredad de Altillo Rioja 2018 (1x75cl)

Spain’s most internationally famous wine region is renowned for creating top quality wines with exceptional ageing ability. It lies in northern Spain, by the side of the River Ebro from which the region’s name derived. Elegance and poise is the hallmark of the wines shaped in this ancient region. The variety of its soils, together with the combination of modern and traditional growing practices allow winemakers to produce a wide range of wines that exhibit different personalities, always within the framework that their long-established Qualified Denominación de Origen demands from them.

The grapes are harvested at just the right moment. A cold maceration process for 48 to 72 hours extracts their skin colour and fruity aromas. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at a temperature between 21 and 23 ºC) for 8 to 10 days.

100% Tempranillo.

Deep cherry red colour with touches of violet. Aromas of red fruits, strawberries and flowers that mirror perfectly on its palate. Smooth and fresh fruit on the palate. Long and pleasant finish.

A good companion to rice, pasta with sauce, grilled meat, cheese or salads.

ABV = 13.0%. 

£8.75

Finca Museum Cigales Reserva 2015 (1x75cl)

Finca Museum is based in Cigales, a small DO located in Castilla y León, east of Valladolid. Although the area was once known for its dry rosados, it is the Tinta del País, a thicker skinned Tempranillo, that excels today. The continental climate of Cigales (with temperatures reaching 40°C in the summer, even at 700 metres altitude) and the soils poor in organic matter combine to ensure low yields and great wines. The vines are on average 40 years old and one of the reasons they have survived is because the soils are too poor to grow other crops such as cereal. As the name suggests, the winery is also a museum, with sculpture and paintings dating back to the 17th century.

The Museum Reserva is made from dry-farmed bush vines that are over 70 years old, planted at an altitude of 750 metres above sea level. The yields are extremely low, between 1 - 2.5 tonnes per hectare, giving the wine outstanding concentration and intensity. Soils are very poor, with layers of gravel, sand, limestone and chalk over clay, which also leads to intensely flavoured grapes.

Budbreak arrived early in the spring. During the flowering stage, a change in weather conditions brought rain and wind and produced significant coulure which meant a 30% reduction in production. The summer was very dry and warm, helping the remaining grapes to ripen fully. The vintage started quite early, with ideal conditions for harvesting high quality grapes.

The grapes were hand harvested into small crates to avoid them being crushed before they reached the winery. Grapes were sorted manually in the winery and then de-stalked. Fermentation took place in stainless-steel tanks at 27 - 30ºC. It continued for 15 days with pumping over for maximum extraction of flavour and colour. Next, the wine spent 20 months in new French oak barrels giving it complexity, roundness and harmony.

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Museum.

Finca Museum Cigales Reserva 2015 - fiche technique

100% Tempranillo.

Deep ruby red in colour, this wine opens with aromas of red berries, blackcurrants and cranberries. The red fruit continues onto the palate, and is accompanied by hints of savoury spice and liquorice. The finish is long, with hints of roasted hazelnut.

ABV = 14.5%.

£17.45

Finca Villacreces Pruno, Ribera del Duero 2017 (1x75cl)

The stunning Finca Villacreces estate is located in Quintanilla de Onesimo on the 'golden mile', in the heart of Ribera del Duero DO. The 155 hectare property is bordered by the River Duero to the north and by the vineyards of Vega Sicilia to the west. It was purchased by Lalo Antón of Izadi in 2003 to add further scope to their wine portfolio. The vineyards are now farmed organically, with canopy management and natural treatments used instead of artificial chemicals. As expected, Tempranillo is the mainstay of the vineyards, with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon also planted.

Grapes for Pruno are only taken from Finca Villacreces’ own vineyards, from slightly younger vines. Until recently, the estate sold this production to some of the high profile wineries in the region. Now that the vines have reached between 10 and 15 years of age, the Izadi family has begun to handpick and vinify the grapes themselves. The vineyards have a mixture of soils: sandy, gravel, shingle and quartz. The vineyards are planted with about 90% Tempranillo (mostly on the sandy vineyards, which give an attractive fleshiness to the wines) and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon (mostly on the quartz and shingle, giving more mineral complexity). Organic practises are used as much as possible and the close proximity of the river helps protect against frost. Work is currently being undertaken in the vineyards to raise the height of the canopy to obtain riper, healthier grapes.

The harvest in 2017 was challenging across the whole of Spain with Ribera del Duero being no exception. Growers contended with spring frosts and summer hail which resulted in lower yields. However, the low rainfall meant grapes were perfectly balanced in sugar and acidity.

The Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were fermented separately in small stainless steel tanks. The two varieties were then aged separately in fine-grained, second and third-year French oak barrels (Taransaud and Darnajou) for 12 months after which the final blend was assembled and the wine bottled.

See blue link below for the estate's own fiche technique/technical note on the Pruno 2017.

Finca Villacreces Pruno, Ribera Del Duero 2017 - fiche technique

This wine is deep, black cherry in colour. Aromas of red fruit with oaky toffee hints from the ageing in French barrels give way to a sweet and fruit-driven wine on the palate. With elements of ripe fruits and liquorice, this wine has a pleasant and soft finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£15.75

La Rioja Alta (Seleccion Especial) Vina Ardanza Reserva 2010 (1x75cl)

** IN STOCK! **

Note new bottle, label and slightly-altered name to this classic wine, because ...

"With the release of the 2010 vintage, what is particularly interesting is that the words Selección Especial have been added to its label. This makes it the fourth vintage in the wine’s 78-year history, after the great vintages of 1964, 1973 and 2001, to be given this elevated status (the first three were simply called Reserva Especial, but it’s the same thing). I’m not surprised that the 2010 has reached this level. Since tasting Contino Reserva 2010 a couple of years ago, followed by a broad array of riojas from different producers – both classical and modern – I’ve believed that there’s something special about the 2010 vintage. Indeed, I think that the consistency of quality of 2010s is high enough that you’d be unlucky to pick a bad example". Tim Jackson MW, www.jancisrobinson.com, 7 Feb 2020, click here for article (JR subscribers only)

___

Awarded a heady 18+ points (of 20) by Jancis Robinson (www.jancisrobinson.com) in her May 2020 article on LRA's UK importer (see blue link below)

La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2010 - May 2020 Jancis Robinson review

___

Awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) - reviewer Sarah Jane Evans - in their Feb/March 2020 article on La Rioja Alta: the art of ageing (see blue link below)

La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2010 - March 2020 Decanter review

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"Ardanza is a classic, pan-regional Rioja, blending Tempranillo from the Rioja Alta with 20% Garnacha from Tudelilla in the Rioja Oriental. It’s a richer, plusher wine than the 2008, reflecting the warmer vintage, but it’s not remotely ponderous. Floral, fine and very complete with fennel and sweet Asian spices, tangy acidity and deftly handled American oak. Drink 2018-26. 95 points". Tim Atkin MW

___

Quality, elegance, innovation, evolution... They are the pillars on which the five founding families erected La Rioja Alta winery in 1890 and built a way of living, feeling and producing wines of the highest quality that continue to evolve subtly, perfectly adapting to new tastes. This is how the permanent pursuit of excellence started; a pursuit that continues into the 21st century with identical enthusiasm. They draw the best from their winemaking tradition and wisdom — their own cooperage, manual racking, long ageing periods, etc — and combine it with the most modern winemaking technology. Today, La Rioja Alta wines are an international exemplar of the great wines of Rioja.

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at La Rioja Alta.

La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza 2010 - fiche technique

80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha.

Medium-high intensity, garnet–red with a cherry rim. The nose stands out for its fresh, spicy character, with hints of sweet cherries, redcurrants and ripe strawberries assembled with notes of black pepper, sweet liquorice, nutmeg, coffee, mocha and cinnamon. Intense and well-balanced in the mouth, with a soft freshness, nice structure, and delicately elegant tannins. Silky finish, with a good aftertaste, where sweet red fruit and balsamic notes give it a broad ending.

ABV = 13.5%.

£25.45

La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Gran Reserva 2012 (1x75cl)

Also available with gift box (click this link).

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition's Spurrier's Fine Wine World (see blue link below).

La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Gran Reserva 2012 - August 2019 Decanter review

Quality, elegance, innovation, evolution... They are the pillars on which the five founding families erected La Rioja Alta winery in 1890 and built a way of living, feeling and producing wines of the highest quality that continue to evolve subtly, perfectly adapting to new tastes. This is how the permanent pursuit of excellence started; a pursuit that continues into the 21st century with identical enthusiasm. They draw the best from their winemaking tradition and wisdom — their own cooperage, manual racking, long ageing periods, etc — and combine it with the most modern winemaking technology. Today, La Rioja Alta wines are an international exemplar of the great wines of Rioja.

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at La Rioja Alta.

La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Gran Reserva 2012 - fiche technique

The Arana 2012 is a brand new Gran Reserva from La Rioja Alta to complement its fabled 890 and 904 labels. It is not a rebadge of the Arana Reserva (although LRA have made that trickier to explain by plumping for a name already in use!), using, as it does, a different blend of grape varieties and drawn from different vineyards. The wine was named after one of the families that have long been at the helm of La Rioja Alta, a company founded in 1895. This wine will replace the original Arana Reserva, whose last vintage was 2011, and will only be made in vintages that meet the winemaker’s high standards.

For a tabulated explanation of how the three LRA Gran Reservas differ, click this link.

For a press story (Drinks Business) of early April 2019 of the release of the new Arana Gran reserva, click this link.

For LRA's marketing presentatation of this new wine, click this link - (**LARGE FILE - may take a while to download**).

95% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano.

Dark-cherry red with a garnet-red rim. High aromatic intensity, with outstanding notes of ripe red fruit, red berries, wild strawberries and plum jam, leading to tertiary aromas from meticulous aging in oak: vanilla, cedar, tobacco, coffee, caramel and sweet patisserie notes. In the mouth, its initial freshness and structure, typical of this brand, predominate. Balanced, with soft, flavoursome tannins. Elegant, complex finish, where the ripe red fruit and balsamic notes provide a splendid end.

ABV = 13.5%.

£30.50

La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Gran Reserva 2012 GIFT BOXED (1x75cl)

** IF THE UNBOXED VERSION IS IN STOCK, SO IS THIS BOXED VERSION! **

Also available without gift box (click this link).

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition's Spurrier's Fine Wine World (see blue link below).

La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Gran Reserva 2012 - August 2019 Decanter review

Quality, elegance, innovation, evolution... They are the pillars on which the five founding families erected La Rioja Alta winery in 1890 and built a way of living, feeling and producing wines of the highest quality that continue to evolve subtly, perfectly adapting to new tastes. This is how the permanent pursuit of excellence started; a pursuit that continues into the 21st century with identical enthusiasm. They draw the best from their winemaking tradition and wisdom — their own cooperage, manual racking, long ageing periods, etc — and combine it with the most modern winemaking technology. Today, La Rioja Alta wines are an international exemplar of the great wines of Rioja.

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at La Rioja Alta.

La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Gran Reserva 2012 - fiche technique

The Arana 2012 is a brand new Gran Reserva from La Rioja Alta to complement its fabled 890 and 904 labels. It is not a rebadge of the Arana Reserva (although LRA have made that trickier to explain by plumping for a name already in use!), using, as it does, a different blend of grape varieties and drawn from different vineyards. The wine was named after one of the families that have long been at the helm of La Rioja Alta, a company founded in 1895. This wine will replace the original Arana Reserva, whose last vintage was 2011, and will only be made in vintages that meet the winemaker’s high standards.

For a tabulated explanation of how the three LRA Gran Reservas differ, click this link.

For a press story (Drinks Business) of early April 2019 of the release of the new Arana Gran reserva, click this link.

For LRA's marketing presentatation of this new wine, click this link - (**LARGE FILE - may take a while to download**).

95% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano.

Dark-cherry red with a garnet-red rim. High aromatic intensity, with outstanding notes of ripe red fruit, red berries, wild strawberries and plum jam, leading to tertiary aromas from meticulous aging in oak: vanilla, cedar, tobacco, coffee, caramel and sweet patisserie notes. In the mouth, its initial freshness and structure, typical of this brand, predominate. Balanced, with soft, flavoursome tannins. Elegant, complex finish, where the ripe red fruit and balsamic notes provide a splendid end.

ABV = 13.5%.

£32.50

Muriel Fincas de la Villa Rioja Reserva 2015 (1x75cl)

** HEAPS MORE STOCK JUST ARRIVED! **

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2020 edition panel tasting of Affordable Rioja (see blue link below).

Muriel Fincas de la Villa Rioja Reserva 2015 - March 2020 Decanter review

Founded in 1982, when Julian Murua Entrena revived his father, Jose Murua’s winery, which dates back to 1926 in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa (one of the three sub-regions that make up Spain’s Rioja appellation). The cellars are in the quaint, historic village of Elciego, which is renowned for being surrounded by some of the best “terrior” in Rioja. The name “Muriel” comes from the combination of the family name, Murua, the region, Rioja, and the name of the town itself, Elciego.

Today, Julian and his son Javier run the winery with the mission to meld the long-held winemaking traditions of the region with new technologies and techniques in order to make wines that express the “best qualities” of the grapes coming from these fertile Riojan vineyards. Like most of red wines in the region, all Bodegas Muriel wines are 100% Tempranillo, the “signature” grape of the region.  Due to the special micro-climate of the region, there is a triple influence from the Mediterranean, Continental and Atlantic climates, which helps the vines produce very aromatic and elegant wines, whose main characteristic is the potential to age.

Located in Rioja Alavesa (Elciego), the vineyard is grown using both trellised and traditional gobelet-pruned system on very poor calcareous soil with a clay loam texture.

The fermentation and maceration process is carried out over 20 days in stainless steel vats. The daily pumping over routine allows an optimal extraction of colour and tannins. The aging process lasts for 24 months, including three rackings in 225-litre American and French oak barrels (50% of each type; 30% of the barrels are new). The wine matures in the bottle for another 12 months before it is released to the market.

100% Tempranillo.

For a little more detail, see the blue link below for the excellent technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Muriel Fincas de la Villa Reserva 2015 - fiche technique

Classic ruby red with hints of a light brick red colour. Very complex and intense aroma, with fine scents of aging which are assembled perfectly: vanilla, spices and herbs. Very ripe fruit recollections appear. In the palate, it is a finely balanced wine, with a polished and elegant body, with a long and pleasant aftertaste. Matches especially well with roasted lamb, cutlets barbequed on vine shoots, fish in sauce recipes, as well as smoked and cured cheese. Excellent wine to accompany chocolate desserts.

ABV = 13.0%.

£12.50

Protos 27 2017 (1x75cl)

** IT'S BACK! THE NEW VINTAGE OF THIS EXEL FAVOURITE! EXCLUSIVE TO EXEL WINES IN THE UK ... AND RARE OUTSIDE OF SPAIN!. **

** ORDER NOW FOR STOCK ARRIVING MID-AUGUST (we expect by the 20th). **

 

Exel tasting note, esp for previous buyers:

 

The Protos "27", although made with great precision, is produced firmly in the modern Ribera/Rioja idiom: concentrated, riper, with darker/blacker fruit and a focus on greater immediacy and earlier drinking than the older style, classic Reservas and Gran Reservas.

 

That central purpose of the "27" continues in the 2017. It should not be overstated, however: this wine will drink very well to 10 years from vintage and is a wine of great precision, high grape quality, superb elevage/oaking. It simply remains a departure from the Protos reds of the past.

 

The 2015 was a true truck-stopper of a vintage in terms of power and ripeness: for some customers it was the apotheosis of immediacy and, for some, a little 'jammy'. It was hugely popular with most and is still in awesome condition for drinking ... for those that still have it!

 

The 2016 was altogether more refined, restrained and elegant; it had more structure, was redder in fruit nature and its dials were set back into a 'safer' set of flavour ranges. Again, this too should not be overstated: it was still a Ribera/Protos of greater immediacy.

 

2017 sits somewhere between the two: more full-on and intense than the 2016 but not quite as 'unhinged' as the 2015. Although 2017 was not a great vintage in Ribera generally, the "27" 2017 is probably the 'Goldilocks' Porridge' (ie just right) of Protos "27"s and the flavour profile that Protos most envisaged when releasing the "27" in 2014.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Protos "27" - fiche technique

See also our Protos visit and wines blog.

Protos have made an excellent 1-minute video clip about the "27" - click here - highly recommended.

To commemorate their 90th anniversary and their first vintage, Protos have recovered their first label for a very special (yet very affordable) release, following 10 years of research in a) viticultural techniques, b) oak barrel characterization and c) indigenous /natural yeasts.

These have emerged and resulted in this unique fine wine. The project researching indigenous yeastshas been one of the most ambitious ones in the history of Bodegas Protos. The objective: using their own yeasts allows the expression in this wine of the real characteristics of Tinto Fino (the local name for the Ribera del Duero clone of Tempranillo) and their different vineyards.

The Tinto Fino comes from from vineyards in excess of 50 years of age and at an altitude of around 850m, located in the Roa-La Horra–Anguix triangle, where the oldest  known plots of Ribera del Duero are planted. Soils are clay-based, with occasional chalky concretions. 

Hand harvested in small crates of 20 kg. Grapes were cold stored before the selection of the best bunches by hand at two sorting tables. After a few days of pre-fermentation, skin contact/cold maceration (to obtain the most delicate aromas available), alcoholic fermentation took place in 15,000 kg stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 25ºC. After 3 weeks of fermentation and maceration, pumping over/pigeage of the wine several times a day, the wine was stored in premium French oak barrels, where malolactic fermentation took place.

The Protos "27" was aged for 16 months in new French oak barrels and then one year in the bottle in the winery.

100% Tempranillo (Tinta del Pais).

The Protos '27 is intense, complex and elegant on the nose, with a broad range of aromas: black fruit (esp plums/damsons), toasted and vanilla notes; these are well integrated with tertiary aromas like toffee and liquorice. In the mouth its persistence, concentration, roundness and balance reveal a high-end wine for long-term aging that will improve in the bottle for a good time (estimated 10 years).

ABV = 14.5%.

** ORDER NOW FOR STOCK ARRIVING MID-AUGUST (we expect by the 20th). **

£25.00

Rioja Gran Reserva Sierra Cantabria 2009 (1x75cl)

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. of 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.

98% Tempranillo and 2% Graciano from vineyards older than 30 years. Traditional harvesting with 100% de-stemming. Fermentation controlled between 28 and 32º C with indigenous yeasts. Extended maceration on the skins for 14 days, with two pump-overs daily at the beginning. During the maceration, the pump-overs were reduced so as to avoid extraction of the bitter and vegetative characteristics.

Ageing: 24 months in American oak Bordelaise barrels (barriques), of which 25% were new oak, 75% were pre-used for a maximum of 3 wines. Racked regularly every 4 months during the first year and every 6 mon ths during the second. Bottled without filtration.

Garnet red cherry with intense aromas that are, fragrant and complex. Notes of mature red fruits, balsamic, truffle, vanilla and toast. On the palate it is vigorous, fresh, and silky with a good presence of mature tannins and a development of complex aromas. A serious, intense red that is some way from its peak of maturity. Dense, smoky and complex, with plenty of grip and acidity.

ABV = 14.0%.

£27.05 £22.40

Rioja Reserva Unica, Vinedos Sierra Cantabria 2015 (1x75cl)

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 of 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.

Marcos Eguren describes this wine as “A red wine with a strong primary character, very aromatic, perceptible tannin but ripe with good acidity and structure, character and expressive. Pure character!”

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical and tasting note - including reviews of the wine - from the team at Sierra Cantabria.

Rioja Reserva Unica, Vinedos Sierra Cantabria 2015 - fiche technique

Tempranillo 97%, Graciano 3%.

The Unica is bright ruby in colour. It has expressive aromas of redcurrant, cherry and liquorice. It’s a quintessentially modern Rioja with rich, plush blueberry and blackberry flavours, chalky acidity, stylish oak and violet aromas. Long and well balanced.

ABV = 14.5%.

£22.40

Rioja San Vicente Senorio de San Vicente 2016 (Sierra Cantabria) (1x75cl)

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 of 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. Everything in the vineyard is done with respect for the environment as well as following the biorhythms of the plant. 

This is a single-vineyard wine from La Canoca which is 18 hectares in size. The soil is comprised of calcareous clay. There is a high density of plantation with low yielding fruit. This wine is from a single vineyard using one grape variety (Tempranillo Peludo) to produce one wine. Tempranillo Peludo ("Hairy") is a low yielding and characteristic grape which is indigenous to the area, so named for its hairiness on the underside of its leaves. The idea behind the use of Tempranillo Peludo was to put quality ahead of profitability, and the use of careful, studied viticulture has made San Vicente a reference point for winemaking in Rioja. The vineyard is run as organically as possible and an exhaustive manual harvest is carried out, combined with a meticulous selection of the best grapes in the winery.

The grapes are fully de-stemmed by hand. A temperature controlled fermentation then takes place over 10 days with two daily pump-overs at 28-30º C.  Only indigenous yeast selected from their own vineyards are used. Malolactic fermentation is allowed to  take place in barrel, where the wine then ages for 20 months. Barrels are 90% French oak and 10% American.

100 % Tempranillo peludo.

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Sierra Cantabria (some of which repeats and expands upon the above) and which also contains the key reviews of this wine in recent vintages.

Rioja San Vicente, Senorío De San Vicente 2016 - fiche technique

The San Vicente has a garnet red cherry colour and a delicate nose. This is the essence of modern-style Rioja. It’s plush and rich, with lashings of oak supported by textured, balsamic fruit flavours, rich licquorice, mountain herbs and a backbone of tannin.

ABV = 14.5%.

£39.80

Taron Reserva Rioja 2008 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal at the 2019 Sommelier Wine Awards (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).

Taron Reserva Rioja 2008 - SWA 2019 award and review

Bodegas Taron is a cooperative based in the northernmost part of Rioja Alta. The cooperative is made up of four small towns; Cuzcurrita de Rio Tiron, Sajazarra, Villaseca and Tirgo. These four towns decided that as they share not only the landscape but their culture too, they would benefit from pooling together their vineyards and knowledge to create one bodega focussed on creating high quality Riojas. Bodegas Taron have 700 hectares of vineyards spread over more than 1000 small plots. Some of the oldest vines are over 100 years old which go into making their premium wine, Cepas Centenarias.

Tempranillo 90%, Mazuelo 10%.

This Reserva from Bodegas Taron spends a year in stainless steel tanks before being transferred to American oak casks for 14 months. This allows the wine to settle before ageing in barrel. The result is a wonderfully complex Reserva with fantastic ageing potential thanks to the naturally high acidity that occurs in wines from this northern Rioja Alta area.

It's from the 2008 vintage, rated as Very Good by the Rioja DOCa Control Board (its second-highest rating) see here.

See also the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Taron Reserva Rioja 2008 - fiche technique

The wine is ruby in colour with garnet hues with notes of violets and cherries on the nose. The palate is soft with notes of red cherries, red currants, citrus peel, cinnamon, balsamic and toast. Soft tannins and a fresh acidity gives structure to the wine which finishes long and complex.

ABV = 13.5%.

£15.50
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