(2020) A total of 971 barrels of this wine were made, with Tempranillo from old vines in Ramón Bilbao's highest vineyards in Rioja Alta, situated at over 700 metres above sea level. It spent 14 months in a combination of French and American oak and is a big mouthful of wine: opulent with rich, chocolaty berry fruit, tobacco and exotic and musky spices, it's that intensity of blackcurrant and mint fruit that drives through. Joining it on the palate are suede-like creamy tannins and well balanced cherry acidity, giving light and shade to the wine, so the finish is spicy and fruity, but fresh too. Modern but substantial. Note that some retailers have moved on to the highly-regarded 2016 vintage already. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(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.
(2019) Made from old vine Grenache, this is yet another peachy-pink and very pale style, very un-typically Spanish compared to more traditional rosados, and very much about bright fruit aromas and flavours, though dry in the finish. As well as the stone fruits, thre's a touch of passion fruit and elderflower, then the palate is juicy and filled with peach and an apple juice acid freshness. Tasty and has a bit of character.
(2019) A big and bountiful Rioja this, brimming with fruit, creamy dark oak and spice, and substantial with its 14.5% abv. Made, unusually, from Graciano rather than Termpranillo, 50% was aged in new French oak, 50% in American oak, for a total of 12 months. It has a wild edge of gaminess, but really it is all about plush, luscious, damson and chocolate on the nose, the palate sweet fruited and just as dark and glossy with fruit and vanilla. There is a sheen of polish to this with its creamy tannins, and freshness too, cherry-pit dry acidity seeing to that. In all, a big, bold, unabashed crowd-pleaser, and very well done. £10.80 for members of the Daily Drinker Wine Club.
(2018) Full-fruited and attractively buxom for a rosé, this pale-ish but more deeply-coloured pink has loads of sweet, ripe berries on nose and palate, a big squirt of lemon juice acidity to freshen, and is enjoyable in an unpretentious and straightforward way.
(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) 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) 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.