I recently reviewed the wines of Botas de Barro, from a small company called Spanish Palate run by English woman abroad, Nicola Thornton. Nicola’s company represents various bodegas around Spain, and Loess is one of the other labels within her portfolio. I cannot see any UK retail stockists at time of review, though some Spanish companies do retail the wines to the UK and rest of Europe.
Loess operates in Valladolid, land of Ribera del Duero and Rueda, and takes its name from the sedimentary soils of sand and clay called Loess on which the vineyards are to be found. Viticulturist Jaime Saez de La Hoya bought his six vineyard plots in 2001, which had been planted between 1936 and1988, and released his first wines in 2003. The striking packaging certainly makes an impact, and the wines are very good.
(2018) Made in stainless steel tanks and 100% Verdejo, this is the pungent, straightforward, Sauvignon Blanc-like face of Verdejo, from vineyards planted in 1998. Elderflower and passion fruit on the nose leads on to quite a full, texturally rich palate, where some creaminess has been formed by lees ageing, the fruit spectrum from tropical to a lime-like, slightly waxy finish that is citrussy and clean with plenty of ripe fruit sweetness.
(2018) A year older than the straight Rueda Blanco, but the Collection cuvée is also fermented in new French oak barrels rather than steel, so is quite a different prospect. Creamy, mealy on the nose, there's a touch of chalky quality and elderflower pungency has been tamed to good effect, just a touch of gooseberry and a hint of more tropical lychee against the barrel-influenced creaminess. In the mouth it has an almost Chablis-like firmness and minerality at first, though the fruit character of the Verdejo does come through to add more zing and vivacious punch, into a long, firm finish.
(2018) The 12 months in new French oak certainly marks this aromatically, much more so than the 'Inspiration' cuvée, but it's a lovely quality of cedary, Sandalwood and plump, glossy black fruit, that is bold, spicy but fruit-filled and appealing. The palate has a beautiful sweetness and ripeness of plump, succulent black fruits, a sheen of creamy oak overlaid, and a nice sense of juiciness thanks to tight tannins and a balanced acidity. This is certainly more sleek than the 'Inspiration', not to obvious as the 'Collection', and is arguably my favourite of the three reds. Price is approximate: it's €16.50 shipped from Spain.
(2018) With 14.5% alcohol and a minimum of 18 months in new French oak barriques, this 100% Tempranillo red is given a bit of real welly, rich, deep and overflowing with black fruit and creamy oak notes on the nose, the palate too is a symphony of chocolate, creamy blackcurrant and swirling smokiness. It's substantial OK, with ripe but fairly blocky tannins, but a nice cherry acid does add a little light and air. Long, spicy and fruity, it's big in scale, still youthful and tight, and very well done of its style.
(2018) The largest production red wine in the Loess portfolio, with 50,000 bottles, but still with all of the Tinta del Pais (Tempranillo) from their own vineyards. It spends nine months in lightly-toasted French oak, and the nose is very much about tight, glossy, black plum and damson fruit, a touch of fine graphite character, a touch of balsamic character. In the mouth it is firm, both fruit, and the tannin/acid framework, and finishes just a touch more harshly than I'd ideally like.