Tasting Notes from trip to Rioja

Tasted Friday, July 5, 2013 - Friday, July 12, 2013 by Merengue with 528 views

Introduction

These are the tasting notes from our one week trip to Rioja. The notes include wines tasted at wineries as well as some consumed at restaurants and pintxos bars. The trip objective was to learn more about Rioja and experience/contrast the diverse tempranillo styles. We specifically picked traditional/classic producers (Lopez de Heredia, Rioja Alta, CVNE) as well as the more modern styled Riojas (Allende, Eguren, Roda). We also visited the tasting bar at Muga.

Flight 1 - Miscelaneous consumed in restaurants (5 Notes)

Flight 2 - Bodegas Roda (4 Notes)

  • 2010 Bodegas Roda Rioja Sela 86 Points

    Spain, La Rioja, Rioja

    (7/8/2013)

    Light and fresh, with some rubber notes. Very young, a bit of tar and
    tongue coating tannins, not harsh but not velvety either. Ok, lacks fruit.

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  • 2006 Bodegas Roda Rioja Roda I Reserva 89 Points

    Spain, La Rioja, Rioja

    (7/8/2013)

    100% tempranillo. Deep color from extraction. Very modern style, elegant but full throttle and full bodied. Plum, dark berry and cocoa notes. Still rough around the edges. An intense wine. Give it many years.

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  • 2009 Bodegas Roda Rioja Cirsion 90 Points

    Spain, La Rioja, Rioja

    (7/8/2013)

    100% tempranillo.
    Intense red ruby red. Sweet fruit, Full mouthfull, tar and rubber. Is this "minerality" the "brand" of the house? Like the oaky woody notes that gIve it an extra dimension. Long finish. A lot going on but this a big robust baby.

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  • 2008 Bodegas Roda Rioja Roda Reserva 88 Points

    Spain, La Rioja, Rioja

    (7/8/2013)

    Deep ruby color. Full mouthfeel, silky, red fruits, feminine with a long
    finish. Accesible now but has stuff to keep for some years. Roda says the difference between Roda and Roda I is the red berry emphasis for Roda and dark berries for Roda I. Although different vintages, we could actually perceive this in the tasting. Well made wines, modern.

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Flight 3 - The Classics, Lopez de Heredia, Muga and Rioja Alta (7 Notes)

Flight 4 - Wines from the Eguren wineries, San Vicente, Vinedo de Paganos, Sierra Cantabria, Teso La Monja (7 Notes)

Highlight of the trip was the tasting of the top line wines of the Eguren Family including a 1978 Sierra Cantabria Gran Reserva and Teso La Monja Alabaster 2010 (Toro Region). This was a beautiful educational tasting about "terroir and the vineyards" as these 6 wines were all 100% tempranillo, from the same winemaker (Marcos Eguren), all aged in french oak between 18 and 24 months. I highly recommend visiting Senorio San Vicente and Vinedo de Paganos. The service is phenomenal and the wines are great.

  • 1978 Bodegas Sierra Cantabria Rioja Gran Reserva 92 Points

    Spain, La Rioja, Rioja

    (7/11/2013)

    Beautiful amber and orange hues, incredible nose of plums and raisins, a touch of leather. On the palate bright acidity, beautifully alive, with
    plums and just a touch of minerals given its age. Wonderful. Elegant, silky, feminine.

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  • 2010 Teso La Monja Toro Alabaster 90 Points

    Spain, Castilla y León, Toro

    (7/11/2013)

    Sweet cocoa notes, toffee, very ripe fruits, a touch of passion fruit and could it be, umami? Very new world, full bodied and rich. A tad hot. Must be the Toro. May be the victim of palate fatigue.

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  • 2009 Bodegas Sierra Cantabria Rioja Amancio 92 Points

    Spain, La Rioja, Rioja

    (7/11/2013)

    Divine nose, plums, raisins, expressive, ripe fruits, intense. This is a
    beautiful in between La Nieta and Finca El Bosque. Has some tannins as well. Some vanilla touches that although I normally don't like it it completes this wines. 24 months 100 % french oak. The longest barrel aged in the lineup.

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  • 2010 Bodegas Sierra Cantabria Rioja Finca El Bosque 88 Points

    Spain, La Rioja, Rioja

    (7/11/2013)

    Darker than La Nieta, a touch purple, Balsamic and blackberries, opulent, much more in your face, very fruity and young. This is big intense wine, perhaps too big. 5 percent aged in hungarian casks. Surprisingly short finish.

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  • 2010 Viñedos de Páganos Rioja La Nieta 93 Points

    Spain, La Rioja, Rioja

    (7/11/2013)

    2010 is, according to Marcos Eguren, the Best vintage in Rioja in 30 plus years.
    Intense ruby red, Elegant nose, red cherries, rosemary, balsamic, some minerals but less than puntido that sits next to it. Well rounded, no tannins, medium bodied silky and elegant, fruits and very long finish. 93.

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  • 2009 Viñedos de Páganos Rioja El Puntido 89 Points

    Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alavesa, Rioja

    (7/11/2013)

    Very fresh, super mineral, smoky, more structure than the San Vicente. Less expressive than the San Vicente and fuller bodied. This has great aging potential. It is a baby now though.

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  • 2009 Señorío de San Vicente Tempranillo Rioja San Vicente 90 Points

    Spain, La Rioja, Rioja

    (7/11/2013)

    Bright purple, clear. Blueberries and dark cherries, balsamic with great
    mineral nose, tar. Smokiness of pain grille. Explodes in the mouth, well rounded, medium to long finish, medium bodied. Nose translates to palate beautifully. Very nice modern classic expression of Rioja.

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Closing

I finished the trip leaning towards the modern styled Riojas of Eguren, Roda and Allende. These are modern reds but the winemakers specially in the case of Eguren are making the wines starting in the vineyard so they are taking a classic approach in that sense. Only time will tell if these modern wines will age as well as the classic Riojas. Some of the classics Gran Reserva Riojas like Prado Enea or Rioja Alta are also fantastic wines and they will always have a place in my cellar as well.

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