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Heredad Guzmán Aldazabal 2001, Rioja ($30) 89 Dark ruby with aromas of plum, pepper and spice and an overlay of smoke and wood. A soft attack of pure red and black ripe fruit flavors, round tannins, good balance and long lasting on the finish. A delicious wine ready to drink. Importer: Grapes of Spain, Lorton, VA

H The Herdad Ugarte family has been growing wine in Rioja since 1870 although the current company and winery

was

only

established

in

1989.

The

winery

produces

a

full

panoply cases.

of wines at all price levels totaling some Most of the wines are traditional in style

60,000 and of

good quality.

Howeve , a few of the reservas and higher end

wines are more modern and of better Casa Ventura Imports, Bellingham, WA Group Chicago, IL

quality. Importers: The ENYE Imports

Heredad Ugarte 2005 Crianza Rioja ($15) 87 The medium ruby 2005 Crianza exhibits black cherry and leather aromas followed by a soft medium-bodied attack of more black cherry fruit, medium weight and nicely integrated charred oak flavors. The wine is well balanced with ripe tannins and a lasting finish.

Heredad Ugarte 2003 Martin Cendoya Reserva Rioja ($37) 87 The Martin Cendoya Reserva displays a deep ruby color with light red fruit aromas and gamey notes on the nose. On the plate it offers lightly concentrated spicy red fruit with hints of oak and leather. A tasty wine with some firm tannins and a solid finish.

Heredad Ugarte 2001 Cedula Real Gran Reserva ($50) 90 A lovely dark garnet ruby with aromas of cherry, balsamic, and vanilla. Soft and fruity attack followed by moderate red and black fruit on the palate. Good acidity. Soft, round tannins. Firm finish. Delicious wine.

Heredad Ugarte 2004 Anastasio Rioja ($ 175) 92 Named after the Ugarte family patriarch, the Anastasio displays a deep ruby purple color with aromas of black fruit, cigar box, violets and sandalwood. On the attack it offers highly concentrated pure ripe black fruit flavors, with a soft texture and elegant mouth feel. Nicely balanced and a long-lasting finish. A rich tasting Tempranillo with a price to match.

H Bodegas Hermanos Peciña is a relatively young winery located in Rioja Alta which only became operational in the mid-1990s. It has 50 ha of its own vineyards with an average age of 25 years, planted with Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano. The winery uses modern methods to make classic and new wave-style wines.

Bodegas Hermanos Peciña 2005 Chobeo de Peciña Rioja ($--) 89 This wine is produced from whole grapes which are carefully destemmed and transferred into fermentation tanks by gravity for 12 days of maceration and 9 months in new American oak. The resulting wine is dark ruby purple in color with aromas of fresh boysenberry and blackberry. On the palate it is offers purity of fruit flavors, a soft silky texture,

19

and round tannins with hardly any traces of oak aging. An interesting new wine that should continue to evolve and probably become more interesting and complex.

Bodegas Hermanos Peciña 2003 Crianza Rioja ($--) 88 This hot vintage produced a Crianza which is garnet in color with light aromas of fruit, vanilla and American oak. Light in style, it offers dried cherry fruit, soft mouth feel, round elegant tannins, and a pleasant finish.

Bodegas Hermanos Peciña 1998 Gran Reserva Rioja ($50) 92 This is one of the finest Gran Reserva’s we have run across from the 1998 vintage. Light to medium garnet in color with an orange rim, it exhibits an elegant nose of dried red cherry fruit followed by a silky soft attack of sweet cherry, licorice and vanilla. It also has a lovely mouth feel, beautiful balance, and a complex finish. Worth the search!

L

H Bodegas y Viñedos Labastida Located in the foothills of the Sierra Cantabria, this highly successful cooperative winery is producing some of the finest classical style wines in Rioja today. The cooperative is composed of growers around the village of Labastida who produce wines from their own grapes. Winemaking is in the hands of Manuel Ruiz, is young highly skilled winemaker. The flagship wine

here is the Manuel Quintano Reserva Especial. Winebow Montvale, NJ

Importer:

Labastida 2004 Crianza Rioja ($15) 88

The dark ruby Crianza displays complex aromas of smoke, cigar box, leather, roasted meat and orange peel aromas. On the attack it reveals soft and flavorful dried black cherry fruit, good acidity, rustic tannins and a long finish.

Labastida 2001 Manuel Quintano Reserva Especial Rioja ($60) 94 This superb bottling is made from 100% old vines Tempranillo. Aged in American oak for 36 to 40 months, it reveals a deep ruby garnet color with orange hues on the rim and offers aromas of dried dark cherry and smoked meat followed by a lush attack of sweet and concentrated dried fruit flavors and notes of cigar box and tobacco. It finishes with firm round tannins and persistence and should age well.

Labastida 2001 Reserva Rioja ($22) 91 This lovely Reserva displays a dark garnet color with aromas of red cherry licorice, and toasted oak. Soft and silky on the attack, it exhibits excellent balance and a lingering finish. Simply elegant.

H Bodegas Lan was established in the early1970s. The name Lan comes from the first three provinces that produce Rioja wine: Logroño, Alava, and Navarra. It has a large modern winery and 72 ha of vineyards which it uses for its best cuvées. It also sources grapes from neighboring growers. Lan has been introducing improvements in vineyard management and winemaking over the past 10 years which have contributed to the high quality of its wines.

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