Rioja Reserva Shoot-Out

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9-1494360416This month we have two stunning Rioja Reservas on offer. We’re calling it a Rioja Shoot out as both wines represent not only different sub zones of Rioja, Alta and Alavesa but also modern vs more classical styles of wine making.

Rioja has 3 sub-zones, Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental ( Previously Rioja Baja),each one enjoys a diversity of soils, terroirs and micro-climates, each making wines of unique personality and character.

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Rioja Alta: Located on the western side of Rioja, this sub-zone has an Atlantic climate and its soils are mostly clay mixed with limestone. Due to the sub-zone’s varying elevations, the wines produced here can have great structure and high acidity.

Rioja Alavesa: The smallest of the sub-zones, it also experiences an Atlantic climate. In fact, it is coolest of the three. The soils are predominantly clay and are situated in terraces. The wines from this region tend to be lighter-bodied.

Rioja Oriental: This eastern sub-zone is  much warmer, drier climate due to the Mediterranean influence and its lower elevation. This area, composed mainly of alluvial soils, produces wines with high extract and alcohol, lower in acidity.

Both Rioja Alta and Alavesa are considered the higher quality areas. Most wines are produced mainly from the local Tempranillo grape although blends and even wines with no Tempranillo are allowed by the DO. For our purposes here comparing the ostatu_reservaReservas here’s a brief refresher on what makes a Reserva.

Reserva: Wines from the best vintages, have to be aged for a minimum of 3 years and at least one year in oak barrels.

And now the wines:

Ostatu Rioja Reserva 2011, Rioja Alavesa

Intense and clear aroma, red fruits with outstanding expressive notes on a creamy wooden background, spicy nuances and mineral touch. Tasty, fleshy, with excellent weight of fruit, firm and sweet tannins, fine toasty notes with a great structure.  From 50 year Tempranillo Vines and aged for 16 months in New French oak barrels.

1765109bGomez Cruzado Rioja Reserva 2010, Rioja Alta

30-year-old bush vine Tempranillo was hand harvested into small baskets, where the grapes undergo a three-day cold soak. The grapes were fermented in cone-shaped stainless steel vats. The juice is the racked to half French and half American barriques, of which 50% is new wood, where is ages for 18 months. The wine is blended to tank prior to bottling and laid to rest in the cold cellars for 2 years prior to release. Clean and shiny, dark red cherry colored. Very expressive nose, with the tertiary aromas of the aging displaying vanilla, cocoa and orange peel, and those of the variety, showing dark and candied fruit. In the mouth it’s rounded, fresh, with a fine acidity, silky tannins and fruit driven aftertaste. It clearly shows the character of a classical Reserva from “Barrio de la Estación.”

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Spanish Wine Week Tasting

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As part of #SpanishWineWeek we will be running a drop in tasting of Spanish wines Friday 15th March. We will have everything from Albarino to Tempranillo and loads more in-between. We will have a selection of wines from all over Spain including Bierzo, Rioja, Rueda, Ribera, Jumilla and Terra Alta open for sampling on the night. Admission is free and the tasting takes place in our shop from 17.00 -20.00 Friday 15th April.

New Year, New Wines…..Bodegas Ostatu

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Some of you may have noticed in the crazy Christmas rush that some new wines and wineries have graced our shelves. On new winery is Bodegas Ostatu from Rioja.

Bodegas Ostatu is a family winery located in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa region in the town of Samaniego. The Saenz de Samaniego family has been in the area for many generations. The winery dates back over two hundred and fifty years. The vineyards, which are protected by the Sierra de Cantabria range, are composed of chalk and clay and the average age of the vines is 50 years. The estate is comprised of over forty hectares of vines located in and around the town of Samaniego. The poor soils and the unique location at the foot of this mountain range together create a special micro climate that is very favourable to the Tempranillo grape.

Until recently all the wine was made in the carbonic maceration process and intended for early consumption. This philosophy changed when Hubert de Bouard de Laforest of Chateau Angelus saw the vineyard sites of the family and expressed an interest in collaborating on a special project. He realized that the age of the vines, combined with the unique orientation of the vineyards, could produce drastically different wines that could compete on the world stage. By changing from carbonic maceration to traditional fermentation and by reducing yields in the vineyards, Ostatu became able to produce wines which live up to their full potential.

Iñigo Saenz de Samaniego, the youngest of six brothers and sisters, is now at the helm of the wine-making. Building on the innovations of the joint project with the French, Iñigo is continuing to seek elegance through the modernization of the family’s wines.
Ostatu Rioja Crianza 2012
A crianza with body and character that is made from 90% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha grapes which came from 30 years old vineyards. A new way to understand the crianza wines. Bright purple.  Vibrant aromas and flavours of black raspberry, spicecake and flowers.  Sweet and seamless on the palate, with a sexy, perfumed quality to its raspberry preserve, cherry-vanilla and floral flavours.  Finishes sappy and long, with fine-grained tannins adding shape and grip.
Ostatu Rioja Reserva 2008
This wine is made from 100% Tempranillo grapes which came from vineyards over 50 years old. A perfect balance of variety and its evolution, resulting in an elegant and fleshy wine where the tempranillo’s fruit is the star.  Dark purple.  Heady, oak spice- and floral-accented aromas of black and blue fruits, cigar box and cola.  Seductively sweet and expansive, offering powerful blueberry, cassis and vanilla flavours that show liqueur-like intensity and depth.  Seamless in texture, with smooth tannins adding shape to the clinging finish.
Ostatu Seleccion Rioja 2010
95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano grapes came from selected vineyards over 50 years old: Valpardillo, Ruancho and La Laguna. After 14 months ageing and other 20 refining in a bottle, we can find a wine with an innovative style and daring in its time. Saturated ruby.  Sexy, oak-spiced aromas of cherry-cola and raspberry with suggestions of licorice and darkchocolate adding depth.  Rich and broad for the vintage, offering sweet dark fruit flavors and a suave touch of candied  Finishes smooth and smoky, with impressive vibrancy and a lingering floral note.