|93||Tim Atkin MW||Graciano ripens well in the warmer conditions of the Rioja Oriental, bringing backbone and structure as well as flavour to this blend with Tempranillo. Aged in new wood, it's an ambitious wine with savoury tannins, some earthy, forest floor notes and layers of damson and blueberry fruit. 2021-27.
Rioja 2020 Special Report; February 2020
|92+||View from the Cellar||I know I do not get around as much as I used to, but this is the heaviest bottle of Rioja I have ever crossed paths with, including some of those glass behemoths from Roda. However, despite the heavy-gauged glass, the wine is quite classical in its sensibilities, being composed of a blend of forty percent Tempranillo, forty percent Garnacha and ten percent each of Graciano and Maturana. It is a single vineyard bottling from the la Rad vineyard and was fermented and underwent malo in eight hundred liter French casks, after which it spent fourteen months in new French oak barrels prior to bottling. This is a very limited bottling, as there are only four hundred and sixteen cases produced, which is too bad, as the wine is excellent. The complex and classy bouquet wafts from the glass in a mix of raspberries, cherries, Rioja spices, a fine base of soil tones, a touch of nutskin and a very deft framing of cedary oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, ripe and focused, with an excellent core of fruit, impressive soil signature, ripe, buried tannins and a long, tangy and gently warm finish. This is listed at 14.5 percent octane and is a bit warm on the backend, but also long, complex and balanced. I would love to see it a bit lower in octane, but there is serious depth and complexity here and I suspect it will age quite gracefully, even at 14.5 percent alcohol. Given my predisposition for the traditional camp in Rioja, I was surprised just how much I liked this wine! It is slightly modern in style, but still pays homage to the great terroir of Rioja and is more hybrid than brazenly modern in personality. It is certainly a very, very good wine in the making! But, given that the world is burning, could we perhaps bottle future vintages in a less heavy bottle? 2024-2055.
Issue # 85 - January/February 2020