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(2024) 100% Tempranillo, this is a high quality Rioja which will appeal most to fans of the marzipan, coconut and espresso-slicked hedonistic and velvety style. The fruit comes from the best vineyards of the property where vines have an average age of 50 years. The wine spends 24 months in all new American oak barrels, where it remains for 24 months, followed by several year in bottle before release. After that intense, balsamic richness of the aromas, the palate shows sumptuous depths of black fruit and charry oak, but zipping cherry and plum skin acidity as well as edgy tannins bring freshness. Long, spicy finish.
(2023) a project begun in 1999 to bottle an expression of Tempranillo from a single, high-altitude vineyard of 85 year-old vines. Matured for 24 months in 100% French oak barrels. Very dark and dense, the sonorous nose beguils with violet and kirsch lift over very classy French oak. Fabulous nose as exotic spices and tobacco join the plush black fruit the lies beneath, with a wisp of smokiness. The oak is possibly a little too toasty and charry at present, suggesting this needs time to me, because beneath, all of that structure and fruit concentration is there. Elegant cherry-bright acids and slick tannins do balance in a wine that is hedonistic, without going OTT. I'd approach again after decanting or more ageing - or with a chunk of serious protein. Multibuy price £42.75.
(2023) Pigeage is 'punching down', pushing the floating cap of grape skins back into the fermentaion tank to enhance extraction. From very old and low-yielding bush vines, spending 20 months in French oak, most of which was new. Dense, rich, dark and subtle fudge-like black fruit intensity. Thick and sweet black fruit, the drying tannins are certainly noticeable, some of that from the charry oak, but the fruit intensity and sweetness matches it through the finish. Creamy and powerful.
(2022) 100% Tempranillo, hand-harvested fruit from old vines went through two selection phases before fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Transferred to French oak barriques, the wine spent 20 months maturing before a further 18 months in bottle prior to release. Vibrant crimson in colour still, the nose is very appealing, deeply-fruited and dark, but layered with graphite and cedar, a little creamy vanilla too. There is a gentle gaminess, then onto the palate loads of crushed berry fruit, highlights of raspberry over deeper blackcurrant. The oak adds lovely polish, underpinned by a hint of earthiness and very fine, chocolate-dense tannins. With pert acids running through the finish, it is long and very stylish.
(2019) This new Gran Reserva from the historic La Rioja Alta joins their tremendously good portfolio of wines. It is utterly classic Gran Reserva in many ways, opening with those fragrant American oak barrel notes of marzipan and coconut, but a terrifically plush depth of fruit that also hints at game and truffle. A blend of 95% Tempranillo from forty-year-old vines with 5% Graciano, there is concentration and elegance on the palate. The wine remains juicy and vital to the core, shimmering with spices and depths of velvetty fruit, smooth tannins and creamy acidity. Beautifully balanced, what a treat this would be if you are looking for something special for Christmas. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2018) A very harsh year, very dry and austere. 15% Garnacha joined the Tempranillo in this year, as the climate produced a dark Garnacha that fitted the profile. Lovely edge of brick to the colour. Dry, mineral, a touch of iron oxide, a touch of dried blood. Beautiful fruit on the palate, very dry, the tannins coating the mouth, but such a delightful cherry and blackcurrant intensity of fruit. Racing acidity adds to the wiry, tense feel of the wine. Fabulous length. No UK retailers of this vintage listed at time of writing, but use the wine-searcher link to find overseas sellers who ship worldwide.
(2018) A very dry year - even drier than 1994 - a Mediterranean vintage with hot summer and low rainfall. Lots of coffee and more torrefaction character, dense and svelte. Again the colour very youthful. Supple, plush, the deep fleshiness of the plum and mocha fruit and the warming creaminess of the oak. Such a dark pool of fruit here, spices and modern in style, but absolutely beautifully done. Hugely impressive and sumptuous, but on personal taste, the edge of the 2004 just sneaks this battle. Bottle price equivalent given, but only half and full case stockists at time of review.
(2018) A great vintage with sufficient rain but very few problems needing any intervention. An Atlantic year. Deep, dense colour. Intense very youthful profile with cedar and black fruits, a graphite and mint chocolate character, and a sense of serious concentration. The palate carries a welterweight of cassis and mint, dramatically dark and plush, long and very very pure, the touch of austerity just adding rigorous charms, but there is light and shade aplenty here.
(2018) A Mediterranean year. A great drought, with only around 15 inches of rain. Early flowering in hot temperatures but then July was cold, August and September hot, meaning a harvest 15 days earlier than in 2010. Darker and more dense in colour still, quite closed, glossy and dark, quite impenetrable at this stage. The palate a similar muscular, deep character but has that mineral, slightly dusty but deeply hued character, so grippy, masculine and rich. Power and weight here, dark vine fruits, huge structure and the coffee touch of creaminess. A cautious 94, but this has the potential to be as great a Roda 1 as the 2010.
(2017) Torre de Oña is a winery created by parent company La Rioja Alta in the 1990s, to make very high quality wines in the neighbouring Rioja region of Alavesa. This is the first release of Martelo, and the first time winemaker Julio Sáenz felt the vintage merited this special selection of the best grapes from old vine plots, aged 24 months in new American oak (80%) and French oak (20%) barrels. It's an immediately modern, plush, yet svelte and concentrated wine, graphite and ebony-dark aromas driven by intense fruit wrapped in very fine oak. The palate has wonderful intensity too, the fruit cool and pure, nothing overblown, everything stylish and serious, spices and balsamic richness to the tannins and fruit, very good acidity, and a long finish playing fruit against structure. There are components of Mazuelo, Garnacha and even the white wine grape Viura alongside the bedrock Tempranillo, in a terrific wine.
Displaying results 0 - 10 of 14