2017 Crianza, Finca Manzanos, Rioja, Spain
Aromatic and intense, lovely aromas of wild red berries, blossom, nutmeg
2018 Rioja Blanco Fermentado en Barrica, Finca Manzanos
A pale gold
2013 Gran Reserva, Federico Paternina, Rioja, Spain
Founded in 1896, Don Federico Paternina established his winery on a site featuring cellars dug in the 16th century in Ollauri, Rioja Alta. After passing through several hands along its history, in 2014, Marques de la Concordia decided to adopt this historic bodega to its family of wines and are now fully committed to preserving its status as among the most beloved names in Rioja. This striking Rioja is now wonderfully mature, mellow and flavoursome. There is a sweetness of fruit that is perfectly complemented by a generous helping of spice. The decade of maturation since the grapes were picked has seen the tannins soften and right now the wine is at its soft, velvety peak.
2014 Reserva Rioja 'Seleccion de la Familia', Luis Canas
A beautiful ruby colour. A clean nose with good intensity. Complex aromas of leather, ripe sweet fruit and herbs over a base of fine oak. Palate: Potent and juicy with structure and good tenacity. The finish shows lots of spice and is ample, complex, long and persistent.
In 1970 Luis Cañas changed two hundred years of tradition and became the first winemaker in Rioja Alavesa to bottle his young wine rather than sell it as bulk. This bold move, and his continued pioneering spirit, has cemented the winery's enviable reputation as one of the most progressive in the region. Sheltered below the watchful Sierra Cantabria, the vineyards are all old, small plots on chalky-clay soils with a dedicated team of vineyard workers carrying out organic practices and a purpose built, fully equipped accommodation block was built for the entire vineyard team in 2006. Today, now in his late 80's, Luis still leads the annual harvest, standing at the head of the selection table, keen to ensure that only the best parcels of grapes are used in his wines. His son, Juan Luis Cañas is now the powerhouse behind this highly accomplished winery, but everywhere you go there is a feeling of family, and especially of the lasting legacy that Luis Cañas will leave for both his son and the Alavesa.
Magnum - 2016 Rioja Crianza, Finca Manzanos, Rioja, Spain
Aromatic and intense, lovely aromas of wild red berries, blossom, nutmeg and hints of sandalwood. Fresh, fruity and well balanced with sensations of raspberries, vanilla and cinnamon.
On the border between Rioja and Navarra, Victor Manzanos carries on the work of the four generations before him. Adding in significant amounts of ambition and energy, he is at the forefront of the new Rioja - championing a modern interpretation of its varieties through his wines. As a grower, Victor is keen to prove that Rioja Baja has its own distinct character and should not be judged as inferior to Rioja Alta or Alavesa - just different. With over 250ha of owned vineyards at his disposal, including what he claims to be the oldest Graciano vines in the world, Victor and the team at Manzanos are fortunately placed to put both the sub-region and the name Manzanos firmly on the map of the most important producers in Rioja.
2014 El Sacramento, Vina Leizaola, Rioja, Spain
A stunning, single-vineyard Rioja which comes from a new property shaking up the scene in Spain. The vineyard is ancient, first planted in the 17th century, but the winemaking is modern thanks to the talent of Jesus Madrazo who left famous Contino to make El Sacramento.
The 2014 fully displays the potential of this superb vineyard in Alavesa. All the grapes are hand-picked and the wine is aged in new, French oak barrels for 17 months before bottling. A beautifully crafted blend of tempranillo and 8% graciano, this is exotic and smoky, full-bodied yet elegant.
2018 Rioja Blanco 5 Varietals, Abel Mendoza, Rioja, Spain
Modest and passionate about his vineyards, Abel and his wife Maite have been making understated wines in San Vicente since 1988.
Lying in the shadow of the Sierra Cantabria, Abel has vineyards in the finest parts of the Alavesa. His knowledge and understanding of the soils is enthralling and to taste in his cellar can be an education on the effects different soils have in different years. He wants only to express the fruit and the soil and unlike many Riojans, he leaves it more or less at that. He does not want to stamp the wines with any particular style or mark of his own other than his respect for the very natural quality of the grapes and for the magical places that they were grown.
Harvest is carried out by hand, each plot and each variety individually at optimum ripeness. One of Abel's specialties is the vinification of the traditional white Rioja varietals separately in new oak barrels.
'The white blend 2018 5V was cropped from a year that saw hail, mildew and botrytis. It's a blend of Viura, Malvasía, Garnacha Blanca, Torrontés and Tempranillo Blanco that fermented in French oak barrels, where it matured with the fine lees and bâtonnage. In 2018, they used more Malvasía, then Viura, Garnacha Blanca, Torrontés and only a touch of Viura. The aim is harmony and balance, and this one seems like one of the most balanced and harmonious vintages, austere and subtle. But if the nose can feel a little shy, the palate is an explosion—it has electricity and feels vibrant and elegant, with very clean and focused flavors, pure and precise. This should develop nicely in bottle. 4,145 bottles produced. It was bottled in April 2019.' LG, 95 Points (Robert Parker's Wine Advocate).
Magnum - 2015 Vina del Olivo, Contino, Rioja, Spain
Ruby red with attractive youth, clear and medium-high tones. Very intense nose with an initial spicy touch that leads to blackberry and currant fruit and final evolution towards balsamic aromas such as aniseed, mint and licorice. The palate has good tannins for conservation and is broad and vinous, with an after taste of ripe fruit and cocoa tones.