flavors, leather and earth with a touch of licorice and tar. This is a fine example of an old classical style Rioja Gran Reserva. Importer: Palm Bay Imports Syosset, NY
H Finca Allende is producing some of Rioja’s most stylish and high quality wines. Winemaking is under the direction of Miguel Angel de Gregorio, formerly with Bodegas Breton. Finca Allende is located in the town of Briones in Rioja Alta and has 22 ha of its own vineyards and sources fruit from over 90 other parcels keeping abreast of the potential of each. Miguel Angel blends modern and traditional winemaking methods, using old vertical presses yet experimenting with
300 liter barriques for aging.
The wines are new
style, clean, fruit forward, elegant and complex.
Finca Allende 2006 Allende Blanco Rioja ($25) 90 This white is a blend of very ripe 70% Viura and 30% Malvasia which spends eight months on the lees in new French oak (and seven months in oak with out lees). The result is a very rich and creamy mouth feel and 14.5 alcohol, atypical of Viura. It is a wine with great aging potential, perhaps for 15 years, not unlike the white wines of Lopez Heredia Viña
This 100% Tempranillo is fermented in tank and French oak barriques, including 14 months of malo and an additional 14 months of aging in new French oak. It is medium ruby in color and displays remarkably fresh aromas (for all the time in barrel) of cherry fruit followed by a soft and elegant attack of ripe fruit flavors. The palate is beautifully balanced with silky soft tannins and a lasting finish. This is a wine that will improve with age, but can be consumed now and enjoyed. A fabulous wine that moves Rioja in a new direction.
Finca Allende 2005 Aurus Rioja ($250) 95 Aurus is sourced from a special high altitude “pago” or parcel, blending 85% Tempranillo with 15% Graciano. Dark ruby in color, it exhibits a subtle, yet complex nose of red and black fruit, white ash, spice and scents of elegant toasted oak. On the palate it displays soft ripe concentrated fruit with spicy notes that are in perfect balance yet still young and in need of more time to evolve. A big price tag too.
Finca Allende 2005 Calvario Rioja ($110) 94 This is a terroir-driven wine, ruby opaque with lovely aromas of black cherry, minerals and hints of toasted oak. Soft ripe and elegant on the palate, seamless and juicy. It offers pure extracted fruit and toasted oak in perfect harmony with round soft round tannins and a long lasting finish.
H Finca Valpiedra is a beautiful 80 acre estate of the Martinez Bujanda family situated on the Ebro river in Rioja Alta and devoted to the production of high quality estate wines in a modern state-of-the-art winery. Winemaking is in the hands of Arancha de Lauren, Technical Director. The quality of these wines is high. Importer: Friend Wine Marketing DBA CIV (USA) Sacramento, CA
Finca Valpiedra 2005 Cantos de Valpiedra Rioja ($18) 88 This is an easy drinking wine of fresh strawberry and dried cherry aromas with a dash of black pepper, followed by light dark cherry flavors, a touch of cedar. It has good balance, excellent acidity and soft round tannins on the finish.
Finca Valpiedra 2004 Reserva Rioja ($40) 90 This Reserva displays a deep ruby color with earthy aromas of minerals, dark cherry and plum. Aged in French and American oak, it is soft on the attack and nicely concentrated, with ripe dark plum and spice flavors, soft round tannins, excellent balance with a rustic finish.
Finca Valpiedra 2005 Reserva ($40) 92 The 2005 Reserva which spends 22 months in new French oak, has a lovely opaque ruby color and aromas of pure ripe black cherry fruit with nicely integrated touches of French oak. On the attack it reveals more raspberry fruit flavors, a soft texture, round tannins, beautiful balance, and some earth notes on the finish. A terrific classical wine.
Freixenet Vasa 2006 Rioja ($12) 86 Freixenet Vasa 2004 Rioja ($15) 87 These two Vasa wines are produced by Bodega Solar Viejo, a winery located in Rioja Alavesa . The 2006 Yasa is a delicious wine for early drinking. It offers a lovely light ruby-purple color, fresh aromas of whole cluster red berry fruit, cherry, toast and vanilla. On the palate it is soft and round with red berry fruit flavors ripe tannins and a firm finish. The 2004 Crianza displays a medium ruby color and has lovely aromas of plum, toasty oak and vanilla. On the palate it offers a soft lush attack of dried black cherry and plum fruit, notes of leather and cigar box and round tannins on the finish. Nicely made.
Bodegas Y Viñedos Heras Cordon 2001 Reserva Rioja ($45) 88 The 2001 Reserva displays a youthful dark ruby color and offers lovely fresh and juicy black cherry and plum fruit aromas. On the palate it is nicely balanced with more berry fruit and a touch of sandalwood. Although this classical Reserva is not complex, it is well crafted and tasty. Importer: Frontier Wine Imports Dover, NJ
Rioja ($30) 87
Light ruby garnet in color, this Vendimia Seleccionada offers dried cherry and plum fruit aromas followed by a palate of slightly astringent red berry fruit, hard tannins, and a short finish. It is not apparent why this wine is labeled a Vendimia
Importer: Frontier Wine Imports Dover, NJ
Heredad Guzmán Aldazabal 2005 Graciano Rioja ($24) 90 This is a new wave Rioja wine and one of the top100% Graciano varietals. Opaque purple ruby in color, if offers a blackberry and boysenberry fruit forward nose with a touch of reduction, loam and spice. On the palate it tastes very fresh and young with a somewhat jammy fruit attack. This very ripe style of wine has a lot in common with Zinfandel. Lots of fruit, good structure and very drinkable. Importer: Grapes of Spain, Lorton, VA