(2023) A 50/50 blend of Maturana Blanca and Tempranillo Blanco from vineyards planted at altitude at Rioja's north-easternmost limit, planted on shallow gravel soils. Lightly baked apple pie aromas, pastry and orchard fruits combining. There is a definite creaminess and suggestion of weight here. In the mouth not to far removed from the Mar de Frades in overall, general style, with concentration and texture to spare, oak-ageing adding extra buttery roundness and a faint touch spice, but the finish braced by a lick of salty salinity. Â£15.75 on Multibuy, but note price and stockist is for the 2017 vintage at time of review.
(2023) The blend is 50% Maturana Blanca and 50% Tempranillo Blanco, with similar winemaking to the 2018 and the red variant: fermentation and lees ageing in concrete vats, amphorae and 600 litre casks before blending and ageing a further six months in French oak barriques. The oak adds a vanillin creaminess that is quite apparent on first sniff of this golden-green wine, with yellow apple and lime aromas, a little spiciness too. In the mouth creamy textured, with a whisper of tobacco spice, more fleshy white fruits and a real tang of pithy citrus in the finish. Rich but fine.
(2022) This is almost all barrel-fermented Chardonnay from higher altitude vineyards, with 10% Viura in the blend. Almond and creamy oatmeal on the nose, lemon and an almost gremolata note is appealing. In the mouth it is weighty and textured, the fruit sweet and the oak quite powerful with its vanillin and roasted coffee notes. A substantial wine, good lemon pith acidity cutting through the texture and fruit density.
(2013) This is Rioja does Burgundy in many ways, a rich barrel-fermented white with its time in small French oak lending a beautifully nutty and gently custardy tone to the ripe but fresh Viura and Malvasia blend. Aromatically it is complex, with touches of sunflower seed and delicate spices, a note of leafiness and a rich lemon and lime rind waxiness. On the palate it has a thrilling balance of cool, citrus and chilled melon precision and more ripe, lightly exotic fruit tones. Acidity is the key here, a rapier blade through the richness and creaminess of the texture. Delightful stuff for smoked salmon or lobster, but has the oomph to be a decent roast turkey choice if white is your thing.
(2013) This serious white Rioja is a blend of 70% Viura 30% Malvasia, fermented and aged seven months in all new French oak barriques. It has a lemony/straw colour, and a nose that is at first quite muted, giving lemon rind and a touch of apple, just a little butter and vanilla from the oak, and a subtle floral fragrance emerging. The sweetness and intensity of fruit explodes onto the palate: masses of ripe, sweet orchard fruits, with a nicely weighty, viscous texture and taut core of acidity. There is real concentration here, that almost tannin-like grip of concentration, fruit and acidity giving length and shimmering structure. This is a powerful white wine without a doubt, though the 13.5% alcohol is moderate, and would surely have a little ageing potential to allow that latent waxiness and honey to emerge.