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own 70 ha-vineyard mainly planted with old low-yielding

Tempranillo vines.

The vineyards






are first-class in every respect.

Fernando Remírez de Ganuza 2003 Fincas de Ganuza Reserva Rioja ($75) 90 Dark ruby. Earth, leather, balsamic and tobacco notes with blackberry fruit. Bright black fruit with hint of red berry. Soft almost sweet approach. Dark cherry. Mouth-filling. Touch of burnt sugar on finish. Round, firm tannins. Delicious.

Fernando Remírez de Ganuza 2006 R. Blanco Fermentado en Barrica Rioja ($-- ) 89 60% Viura, 40% Malvasia. Pale straw. Very aromatic Malvasia aromas. Honeysuckle and ripe white peach. Good acidity.

Crisp, dry with sweet honeydew overtones. Nicely integrated oak.

Long finish.

Fernando Remírez de Ganuza 2004 Reserva Rioja ($75) 92 Opaque ruby. Black fruit and oak and caramel. Fairly closed nose, hints of cocoa, ash, dark plum, char. A big dense style. Soft with juicy, lush, black fruit on the attack. Quite firm tannins—ripe and mature, but could use more time in bottle. Fruit isn’t well expressed at the moment. A more serious wine. Very tight. Well integrated oak, but there’s lots and lots of it. Expensive, French stuff. Long, flavorful finish.

Fernando Remírez de Ganuza 2005 Trasnocho Reserva Rioja ($70) 91 Deep ruby. Nose of dark red fruit, expensive French oak, touch of violet. Leather and earth notes. A terroir driven wine, not a fruit driven wine. Round and rich attack; fruit laden but not over-extracted. Chalky, ripe, firm tannins on the finish. Has a certainelegance.Well-balanced,goodacidity.Accessiblenow.

H Rioja Vega is an old winery founded by the Ugalde family in the late 19th century. It is presently owned by Group Principe de Viana which purchased the estate in 1983 and has invested heavily in improving the quality of its wines.

The wines reviewed here are at the entry level.

Rioja Vega 2006 Joven Rioja ($9) 86 This is a flavorful young wine consisting of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha. Medium ruby in color, it displays aromas of black cherry with a touch of oak and meaty notes. Light on the palate, it has a tart, dry and short finish. Offered at a great price. Importer: Winebow Montvale, NJ

Rioja Vega 2004 Crianza Rioja ($13) 86 This Crianza is a blend of 50% Tempranillo, 35% Mazuelo, and 25% Garnacha. It has a deep ruby garnet color and reticent earthy aromas. On the palate it offers flavors of vanilla and light red plum fruit and spice. Good acidity. Decent finish. Somewhat rustic. Importer: Winebow Montvale, NJ

Bodegas Riojanas 2004 Gran Albina Vendimia Rioja ($45) 87 Medium ruby. Very clean, red cherry and oak and mushroom notes. Soft, flavorful attack of flavorful cherry fruit with round, ripe chewy tannins. Persistent finish. Solid, drinkable wine. Importer: Vintage Wines NY, NY


Bodegas Riojanas 2001 Monte Real Reserva Rioja ($23) 88 Medium dark ruby garnet. Touch of oxidation, chocolate cherries, vanilla and cedar. Soft, dry attack of light, dried fruit. . Dry finish of leather and oxidative notes.. Soft tannins. Importer: Vintage Wines NY, NY

H Bodegas Roda is an outstanding boutique winery owned by Mario Rottlan and his wife Carmen Daurella, both from Catalonia. Agustin Santolaya, a top viticulturalist, heads the winery which currently produces three very high quality cuvées from Tempranillo and Graciano Roda sources its grapes from 16 high altitude low yielding old vineyards sites in Rioja Alta and has steadily improved its vineyards through massal and genetic research. Roda is a quintessential new wave Rioja winery producing stunning wines for the upscale


Importer: Kobrand Corporation Purchase, NY

Roda 2003 Roda I Reserva Rioja ($70) 92 The Roda I Reserva is sourced from 35 year old low-yielding vines. It is ruby in color and intensely aromatic displaying plum, raspberry and cedar. On the palate it offers a soft attack, elegant mouth feel with lots of pure concentrated dark red berry fruit and spice. The fruit is phenolically ripe and the tannins round and somewhat chewy.

Roda 2003 Roda II Reserva Rioja ($45) 91 Medium ruby garnet, the Roda II Reserva, sourced from over 30-year old vines offers fresh cherry and plum fruit with hints of wood spice, and a slightly coconut sweet attack. The palate offers ripe red fruit flavors, ripe tannins, and a long finish. Nicely crafted and well structured.

Roda 2005 Cirsion Rioja ($300) 95 Cirsion is sourced from 50 year-old vines and is vinified similar to Roda I and Roda II, but is only aged for 8 months in 100% new French oak and bottled for 4 months. Opaque ruby, with aromas of pure blackberry, toasted oak, white ash, and a touch of herbs. New World in style, it offers a soft attack with concentrated flavors of ripe fresh berries, with hints of smoke, espresso, and toffee. Very rich and elegant---with an atypical style for Rioja.

Bodegas Ruiz de Vinaspre 2002 Crianza Rioja ($14) 87 100% Tempranillo. Medium ruby garnet. Fresh, red berry nose. Fairly light, clean fruit on the palate. Notes of earth and mushroom and touch of oak on the palate. Drops off


Chewy tannins.


Rioja ($14) 89

Bodegas Ruiz de Vinaspre 100% Tempranillo. Medium

2001 ruby

garnet. Toasty oak, black cherry, the nose. Soft, round, lush attack. of concentrated fruit, oak, touch Importer: P.R. Grisley Co. Salt Lake

touch of mushroom on Nice flavor combination of leather. Long finish. City, Utah


H Bodegas Santiago Ijalba is a small family winery which began operations in the mid-1960s and is today producing Classical Rioja wines under the direction of Roberto Ijalba Perez. Ogga is considered this winery’s best wine, but unfortunately is not reviewed here.

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