Wines Of Rioja
Highly regarded for distinctive and age-worthy red wines, Rioja is Spain’s most celebrated wine region and also home to whites of equivalent quality but lesser renown. Made up of three different sub-regions of varying elevation—Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja—wines are typically a blend of fruit from all three, although single-zone wines are beginning to gain in popularity.
Rioja Alta, at the highest elevation, is considered to be the source of the brightest, most elegant fruit, while grapes from the warmer and drier Rioja Baja produce wines with deep color and high alcohol which mainly serve to add body to a blend. While fresh and fruity Riojas labeled “Joven” undergo minimal aging before release, a hallmark of more serious Rioja wines is the aroma and flavor of new oak—traditionally American, which imparts characteristics of dill, coconut, vanilla, and spice to the wine. Tighter-grained, subtler French oak, however, is becoming increasingly common. Crianza and Reserva styles are aged at least one year in oak, and Gran Reserva at least two, but in practice this maturation period is often quite a bit longer—up to about fifteen years.
3:00pm – 5:00pm
~ Selections To Be Tasted~
2014 Vina Otano Rioja Blanc
This winery is run by third generation winegrowers. The current owners’ grandfather started working in wine in 1910. Vineyards range in age from 30 to 55+ years old. Fruit comes from a combination of estate grown fruit and fruit grown under contract and winery direction from two distinct areas within Rioja Alta. All fruit is hand harvested. The current winery was built in 1989 incorporating stainless steel tanks and refrigeration. Their cellars have storage for over 50,000 cases of wine.
Wine Enthusiast 91 Points: Piercing woody aromas are about all you get on the nose of this barrel-fermented blend of Viura and Tempranillo Blanco. The palate is crisp, tight and resiny, while overtly woody flavors outweigh background white-fruit notes. A resiny flavor is front and center on a barrel-driven finish.
75 % Viura and 25% Tempranillo Blanco
2016 Akutain Rioja Alta
Juan Peñagaricano Akutain used to be an engineer working for a company that sold cooling units to wineries in Rioja. He spent lots of time at some of the classic estates, tasting and learning about wine. In 1975 he purchased his first vineyard in Rioja Alta; since then the Akutain estate has grown to 6.5 hectares. Today Juan’s son, Jon, handles the day-to-day operations of the estate. They continue to produce wines in the old-school, traditional style of Rioja, emulating the grand houses of yesterday, though on a much smaller scale.
Winemaker Notes: The Rioja Cosecha is a blend of mostly Tempranillo with small amounts of Garnacha. The grapes are fermented using native yeasts in fiberglass tanks and matured for a short time in the same vats. The wine is youthful and very expressive delivering lots of high-toned red fruit character with background flavors of spice. On the palate the wine is fresh and juicy with a medium body and light, airy finish. Pair with a wide range of tapas from chorizo to gambas al ajillo to assorted meat pintxos.
2011 La Rioja Alta
Vina Alberdi Reserva
Few dispute that La Rioja Alta S.A. is the leading quality orientated producer in the Rioja. With more than 50,000 casks and 6.4 million bottles stored at any one time, the equivalent of about 8 years sales, La Rioja Alta S.A. is unique in its ability to supply large quantities of fully mature wines of world class quality.
James Suckling 94 Points: A classic and tightly knit Rioja with dried berry, spice and cedar character on the nose and palate. Medium body, very fine tannins and a flavorful finish. Acidity carries the wine and then the tannins. Gorgeous.
2014 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva
The Muga wine cellars were founded in 1932 by Isaac Muga Martínez who originated from a family with strong ties to the winemaking industry. On the death of the founder in 1969, his children Manuel, Isabel and Isaac Muga Caño took over the reins. The winery controls every step of the viticultural and vinification process from the vineyards to making their own barrels and fermenting and aging the wine entirely in oak. Muga is one of only six estates in the world that owns its own cooperage and they import the oak directly from the United States and France. Bodegas Muga is one of the oldest, most elegant and traditional Rioja producers.
James Suckling 92 Points: This is an excellent 2013 with such purity and finesse. Cherry, stone and light cedar aromas follow through to a full body, very fine tannins and a fresh and clean finish. Hints of cedar. It shows a focused energy.
2011 Marques de Murrieta Reserva
The story of the Marqués de Murrieta winery is inextricably intertwined with the history of Rioja wine. The winery’s founder, the Marqués de Murrieta, imported production techniques into Spain from Bordeaux. In 1852 he produced his first wine in Logroño, moving into the Ygay Estate in the late 1870s. Located at the heart of La Rioja, the estate is home to Ygay Castle, headquarters of the Marqués de Murrieta wineries. The castle is surrounded by 300 hectares of vineyards.
Wine Enthusiast 94 Points: Cherry, blackberry and baking-spice aromas are classic for this winery and the Rioja region. Bright, elegant and just plush enough on the palate, this tastes of plum, spiced berry fruits and mocha. A composed, dry, loamy feeling finish isn’t pushy or demanding.