(2023) The blend is Tempranillo (80%) and Garnacha (20%), the wine fermented with indigenous yeasts. There's a painstaking elevage, with long maceration then gentle pressing into a combination of second use, 225-litre French oak barrels and new Hungarian oak casks. After 16 months the wine remains in concrete vats for a further 22 months. Exquisite nose; so refined with pencil-shaving nuances and old polished wood, a wreath of gentle smoke and a deep seam of black fruits. In the mouth the tannins here have been burnished to a firm, but elegant sheen and the acidity and crisp nature of the blackcurranty fruit gives this liveliness and sophistication. This one is approachable now with food, but will cellar for 10 years easily. Beautifully composed.
Multibuy price Â£99.
(2023) From a single vineyard at 650m elevation this is an ultra-selection of the best fruit, fermented with indigenous yeasts. It spent 14 months in 500-litre French oak barrels, before finishing in concrete vats for a further eight months. There's a real buoyancy about this aromatically, with potpourri florals and spices running into zippy red fruit, the oak much less imposing than in the Mirto for example. In the mouth there is a creamy gloss of polished oak, and it's a wine in a very sprightly style; it's not without concentration and a residual whack of tannin and oak spice underpinning, but the acidity is crisp and the fruit stays in that red spectrum.Â Multibuy price Â£99.
(2018) By contrast to 1994, quite a wet year, with 25% more rain but Agustin says it all fell at the right times to make for a very expressive vintage. Similar colour, a touch smoky and dusty, a little more fat and expressiveness about it on first impression. Certainly more sweetness to the fruit, more plummy flesh, but that mineral and bloody background is there, in another lovely and pure wine, a little sweeter and softer, and that extra ounce of voluptuous fleshiness might just give it the edge for me as there is still great structure. Not listed by any UK retailers at time of writing, but again there are overseas retailers who will ship.
(2018) At first the winemaking team had doubts about this vintage, following hailstorms and very unsettled summer. On 11 September the weather changed with rain that gave fears of rot, but a north wind dried the vineyard and the rest of the harvest was perfect. Youthful colour, an intense, taut black fruit nose, with a certain richness and fruit concentration, but that Roda minerality still there. Glossy and rich on the palate, firm, juicy black fruit always bittersweet edged with cocoa and plum skin bite. Long and such pure fruit, creamy and polished.
(2018) Though not part of the 'vintage pairs' comparitive tasting, 2008 was definitely an Atlantic year for Roda, the winter very dry, then Spring brought rain "that did not stop," with 250mm falling in May alone, followedÂ by a terrible summer and very late harvest for all agricultural produce in the area. There is a herbal note here, as well as cherry and a little dried blood and game note, the pertness of the cherry is lovely. On the palate there is a supple roundness, spiciness, and that herbal touch just adds to the fresh and quaffable character, with plenty of fruit in an obvioulsy well-managed vintage.
(2018) A difficult winter with 15 days below zero and Spring frosts. "Rioja went mad," says Mario, with the price of grapes rocketing. Selection was the key to being able to make a great wine. A warm rim of brick, quite a developed colour but such beautiful aromas, soft Burgundian character, medium bodied and silky, so aromatic exotic spices and sweet red fruit. Drinking absolutely beautifully. Is it past it's best? Well that's a matter of opinion, as it has traded some structure and precision for sheer deliciousness.
(2018) A difficult vintage again, but Roda have conjured a very good wine. Wonderful nose, so truffly and gently gamy, Sandalwood spiced and sweet tobacco. A solidly fruit driven style, but again quite Burgundian and silky smooth. Delicious richness and in many ways in a similar place to the 1999. Like it, not for extended cellaring but most enjoyable.
(2013) >From 60-year-old vineyards, a blend of hand-selected Tempranillo, with 10% Graciano. It was aged for 24 months in new oak barrels, 80% French and 20% American. The colour is a deep, saturated dark ruby, and the nose has an immediate sense of concentration and richness. Tobacco and fine, peppery spice, and something quite mineral too over deep-set but sweet and ripe black berries. Just a hint of cedar and something gamy adds a lovely touch of extra complexity. In the mouth it has massive presence: there is the concentration of the cassis and black plum fruit that is dense and sweet, a big chocolate-infused layer of wood smoke, and those complex spice and savoury, clove and cinnamon-like notes. Very powerful stuff, very striking and intense, the finish is long, spices tingling on the lips as the sweet fruit persists. A big wine with 14.5% alcohol, but it has real energy in its intensity, the firm core of supple tannin and the cherry-skin edge of its acidity. Very serious and no doubt worthy of considerable cellaring.