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Wines of Rioja: Tasting Notes and Ratings

The International Wine Review team tasted more than 350 wines for this report. We normally taste wines blind under

controlled

conditions.

However,

for

this

report

we

also

tasted many wines in Rioja during our visit in June 2008.

The i-WineReview rates wines using the 100 point system. We do not write –up wines which receive a rating of below 85 points. The ratings are as follows:

95-100 90-94 85-89

A wine of distinction A wine of outstanding or superior quality A wine of good to excellent quality

84 and below

Not recommended

Because

of

the

large

volume

of

wines

reviewed

for

the

report,

we

unfortunately

were

unable

to

publish all reviews.

However, subscribers will

be able to read each i-WineReview’s Tasting

and every review in the Notes and Ratings Archive

using our new Search. www.i-winereview.com

The

Archive

is

located

at

All of the wines soon appear in

reviewed here are retail wine shops

sold in the U. S or will

here.

However,

some

wines are unfortunately, in very will have difficulty finding them.

short supply and readers The i-WineReview is more

than

happy

to

advise

readers

where

they

might

get

hold

of

certain wines reviewed in the report.

Obviously, the web

is a great place to start a search, if local wine shops don’t have them. We also encourage readers to check with our Recommended Retailers throughout the country listed on

www.i-winereview.com.

A

H Bodega Abel Mendoza produces high quality and

original 34 small

new wave white and red vineyards in the mountain

wines sourced from ranges of the Sierra

Cantabria. These wines exhibit fresh fruit, high are well-structured. A Burgundian winemaker in

acidity Rioja.

and

Abel Mendoza 2007 Garnacha Blanca Fermentado en Barrica Rioja ($30) 90 An unusual grape for Rioja, but a lovely wine, nonetheless. Medium lemon in color with a rich nose of banana, gardenia, and baked apple. It is very ripe with creamy mouth feel and a long finish. Quite delicious fruit and beautifully balanced.

Abel

Mendoza

2006

Graciano

Rioja

($80)

90

One of the better single varietals of Graciano. Deep ruby in color with a pink rim. Ripe, boysenberry aromas with a fresh soft attack creamy mouth feel, light mid-palate, high acidity

and layered flavors.

Abel Mendoza 2001 Jarrate Rioja ($25) 87 This is an easy drinking wine with a dark ruby color and smoky oak and cigar box scents. It offers a simple and

12

straightforward attack, with tasty red and black fruit flavors, soft tannins and a firm finish.

Abel Mendoza 2006 Tempranillo Rioja ($55) 90 Opaque ruby with aromas of black raspberry and black pepper. Flavorful attack of blackberry, and black currant, nicely structured and beautifully balanced, with a silky texture, gripping tannins and a long finish.

H Bodegas Agricola La Bastida is a small family winery founded in 1992 in Rioja Alavesa by Carlos Fernandez and neighboring growers. These are three excellent wines from the winery’s portfolio. Importer: Elite Wines, Lorton, VA

Bodegas Agricola la Bastida 2004

El Belisario Rioja ($--) 90 The Belisario is produced from low yielding old vines Tempranillo and is fermented in American oak with malo in

the same barrels. and 6 in bottle.

The wine is aged for 14 months in barrels The wine has a deep ruby color with an

opaque core and aromas of notes. It offers a sweet, soft

dark fruit, vanilla, and cedar round attack with lush mouth

feel and flavors of black fruit with vanilla oak, balsamic, black cherry. It finishes with soft chewy tannins.

and

Agricola la Bastida 2004 Tierra de Fernandez Gomez Crianza Rioja ($--) 88 Dark ruby. Fruit forward plum, black cherry. Attack of very fresh fruit. Soft tannins. Uncomplicated dense plum fruit. Tannins slightly astringent on the finish.

Agricola la Bastida 2004 Tierra Fidel Rioja ($--) 89 50% Graciano, 50% Garnacha. Deep ruby. Very aromatic, red fruit, toasty oak. Focused, concentrated plum fruit with sweet, vanilla oak. Long finish.

H Bodegas Altanza is a small family winery located in Rioja Alta that produces high quality wines. It sources its grapes from its own 120 ha estate, which includes low-yielding old vineyards, and from local growers. Importer: Quality Wines of Spain New York, NY (Reviewed by i-WineReview in February 2008 )

Altanza 2001 Altanza Reserva Seleccion Especial Rioja ($39) 88 This medium ruby wine of 40+ year old vines is aged 18 months in new French oak casks. It’s honest and straight- forward in style with a lovely cherry nose and dried cherry fruit flavors on the palate, complemented by a nice gripping finish.

Altanza 2006 Capitoso Rioja ($17) 87 The youthful 2006 Capitoso is 100% Tempranillo and displays a medium ruby color with aromas of black cherry, herbs and sweet oak. On the palate it offers a soft mouth feel that is medium weight and is slightly rustic and tart on the finish.

Altanza 2004 Lealtanza Crianza Rioja ($22) 91 100% Tempranillo with 12 months in French and American oak, this medium dark ruby Rioja has aromas of herbs and cigar box and a nice soft attack of black and red fruit framed

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