Palacios Remondo, D.O.Ca Rioja (Rioja Baja) ALFARO PALACIOS REMONDO 'La Vendimia' Garnacha-Tempranillo

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1 Palacios Remondo, D.O.Ca Rioja (Rioja Baja) ALFARO Alfaro is in the far south-eastern corner of la Rioja, and is the largest production village in Rioja, with 3750 hectares of vines, Laguardia is second. Here, on the southern shores of Rio Ebro, the soils tend to be fertile alluvium too productive for growing quality grapes. Some of the world s finest vegetables come from the rich red soils around Alfaro piquillo peppers, artichokes, asparagus and much more. However, the fruit from which Palacios Remondo wines are made is no run-of-the-mill product of rich dirt, though. Their holdings are 15 kilometres west of Alfaro, high up in the pale clay hills under Mount Yerga. Above 550m altitude, this is one of the highest parts of the entire Rioja appellation, cold and very late-ripening. Yerga is in the Sierra Yllera, part of the Sistema Iberico which divides this last vestige of Rioja from Soria, the wild eastern-most part of Ribera del Duero. The soil is a coarse chalky quarternary clay riddled with pebbles - quite big rocks of various mineral origins (metamorphic volcanic lava, limestone, quartz and basalt). In the rain-shadow of the mountain, rainfall is a very low 360mm (compared to 550 in Haro). Under Monte Yerga, the Palacios family have 110 hectares of their own vineyards and a further 60 hectares they rent from two families with which they have a long association. With the Yerga Mountain looming behind at 1100 metres, the main vineyard, La Montesa is at metres altitude. The vineyards of the families from which they rent from are just below in front. The oldest vineyards, above La Montesa, are at the limit of Garnacha s ability to ripen. PALACIOS REMONDO 'La Vendimia' Garnacha-Tempranillo An unfiltered, biodynamic Rioja regional blend, with Garnacha from below Rio Ebro and Tempranillo from the river s north shore. Alvaro s precise-yet-barely-tutored wines gently but unfailingly reflect the earth in which they grow, and this hallmark is seen in spades here. 4 months in barrique. Both bright and earthily-fruited, this juicy little wine balances neat, modest tannins and soft red dirt acidity. Mid-weight at most, round and complete, gently spiced and perfumed, it s classy and delicious.

2 Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana VIŇA REAL, Logroño While the Cune bodega in Haro represents CVNE s commitment to tradition, Viña Real exemplifies their embrace of modern technology. Viña Real wines are in a rounder, more fruit forward style, yet have the structure and ability to age for half a century. Viña Real started in the 1920s and old VR Gran Reservas are among Rioja s legendary wines. Since 2004, Viña Real has been housed in a modern purpose-built winery designed by Bordelaise architect Philippe Mazieres. The foyer entrance sits atop the hill known as Cerro de la Mesa and commands sweeping views of both the Alavesa vineyards (looking directly down on Contino just to the North) and South to Logroño, Rioja s commercial centre. The heart of the facility is a cavernous circular chamber which, when viewed from the outside, resembles the upper portion of a giant wine barrel. Inside, technology and modernity reigns. The above-ground portion houses the winemaking facility, designed with the goal of complete reliance on gravity-flow, made possible in large part by a rotating central crane, delivering giant IFOs to each fermenter. Anytime grapes or juice need to be moved, for example to pump-over, it is done by gravity thanks to the IFOs. The bodega features twin 3km tunnels dug into the hill where bottle and barrel ageing takes place (these drives took 6 years to dig!). The grapes are grown on sunny south-facing slopes above the Ebro River in Elciego and nearby villages. As with Cune, Viña Real wines are produced from about 50% estate owned vines, and the rest is purchased. VIÑA REAL Crianza Tempranillo Fruit is sourced from Laguardia and Elciego, mainly Tempranillo with some Garnacha and Mazuelo. Destemmed grapes are fermented in stainless steel for days at degrees. Malo takes place in oak and the wine is matured in new oak (70% French, 30% American) for months, racked every 5-6 months. Vina Real has a house style I liken to decompressed Barolo. Cherry, fruit of the forest, balsamic, mature wood and tea aromatics, with sars, tobacco and red dirt. A ripe, open and round style, mature fruit edged by oak. Compania Vinos de Telmo Rodriguez Vinedos de Lanciego, D.O.Ca Rioja Lanciego (Lantziego in Basque) is a tiny village in Rioja Alavesa, in the rolling foothills leading up to the limits of wine growing in the Cantabrias. Telmo and Pablo s holdings are a select patchwork of vineyards purchased on various soils on the hill adjacent to Lanciego. The wines produced here, LZ, Lanzaga and Altos Lanzaga are a threeway telling of the wine story of this specific place. Lanzaga, the brand name, is an invention of Telmo s it points to Lanciego without actually naming it on the label, which is as close as the law allows Telmo and Pablo to say, this wine is from here Here at Lanciego where Telmo and Pablo have chosen their Rioja, is very cold and remote, just at the limits of grape-ripening viability. The soils here are varied, featuring elements such as silty-sand, pebbles, ferrous clays, sandstone and limestone. A typical profile is a shallow

3 ferrous clay textured with pebbles and sand over a first bedrock of sandstone, then a deeper siltychalky clay over a second bedrock of limestone. The vineyards, too, are mixed. Most are ancient field blends, planted to variant tempranillos, garnacha in significant proportion and support acts graciano, mazuelo, viura, and moscatel. Taken together they have a natural light and shade - inherent complexity - and are a million miles from industrial monoculture and the stultifying contemporary closure around high and even ripening regimes. There is no dull regularity here. The Lanciego Wines 'LZ' Tempranillo A jam-packed cranberry+field herb nose (red lavender anyone?) is perfectly struck fresh fruit and earth, lift and depth... The palate is perfumed, ovoid, lissom, and really harmonious - built beautifully on Telmo and Pablo s trademark natural fruit tannin-natural acid twin-track. Un-oaked, juicy and deft, it s not just good and typical Rioja, nor merely delicious this is spectacular wine for the $$. Spain s Greatest Pizza Wine! Lanzaga Tempranillo Lashings of deep, briary knobbly old wood smells, straight from old vines deeply rooted in cold earth, clove and nutmeg spiced, deeply earthy and very savoury, with blueberry skin leathery tannins smells and a skylike acid freshness almost like the smell of rain after a dry spell. In the mouth, this is a stunning tale of natural fruit tannin and ultra-complex and flavoursome acidity and all matters of fruit and oak and winemaking are effortlessly carried along within this eructation of place, as if a berry plucked dragged its terroir screaming like a blanket into the crusher. Artadi, D.O.Ca Rioja (Rioja Alavesa) Owned and hand-made by Juan-Carlos Lopez de Lacalle, with the assistance of his wife Pilar and son Carlos, Artadi is a top-flight organic and (selectively) biodynamic producer. Juan-Carlos works on high altitude bush vines dry-grown in cold soils just under the Sierra Cantabria mountain range near the village of Laguardia, north of Logroño. Unlike most of BRAND RIOJA as promoted by the bureaucrats of official Rioja, Artadi are site-specific wines of place and soil authentic proponents and outstanding exemplars of the (often windy) notion of terroir in wine. Laguardia, the hilltop medieval fortress town below which Artadi s holdings lie is a town of two villages : there is that which you see built above-ground, and the hidden community of interconnected cellars in the secret subterranean world dug by hand into the bedrock of the sandstone and limestone hillside. Here deep inside the medieval village is the Artadi underground cellar in which the wines are stored at 13 degrees with high natural humidity, deep in the stone bedrock. The bodega for production is a shed on the outskirts beneath Laguardia, on the way towards the vineyards Artardi Estate Tempranillo (screwcap) Bright berry-cherry straddles the red-black divide almost perfectly, fresh and juicy but short of confecty thanks to streaks of brushy-bracken and a nice earthen smell of the vineyards, tobacco and arrowroot. Beaut mid-weight palate is deftly balanced, sitting gently in the mid-palate and radiating to all points in an amiable, unrushed manner. Subtle spice and fresh natural acid keep the fruit down and in the mouth, no sense of glycerol or alcohol, very elegant and oak indistinguishable.

4 La Granja Nuestra Senora de Remelluri, D.O.Ca Rioja The first estate of la Rioja Owned by the family of Telmo Rodriguez, and since 2009 run by Telmo and his sister Amaya, this was the first genuine estate owned, grown, made and bottled on a single property - of Rioja. Purely organic, never subjected to herbicide, in conversion to full biodynamics. Remelluri became the first chateau-style estate to grow, make and bottle from and on a single estate. The first vintage under Jaime s ownership was Since then, renovation of the vineyards and a degree of modernisation of approach (compared to traditional Rioja) has seen Remelluri become a very famous reference in Rioja. Remelluri really came to prominence in the late 1980s when Telmo took over winemaking. Under the guidance of the young Telmo (adopting Burgundian rather than Bordelaise techniques and aspirations), Remelluri moved to the forefront of quality Rioja properties in the late 1980s/early 90s. Telmo actually started working with his long-term business partner, Pablo Eguzkiza at Remelluri. Telmo and Pablo left Remelluri in the mid-1990s to concentrate on the emerging Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez. 15 years later, he s back! Telmo and his sister Amaya have recently taken over the property entirely, running it on behalf of the family from 2009 onwards. Several key changes are in the pipeline. There were some innovations and corrections that Telmo was not allowed to implement first time around. Now, an exacting viticultural quality regime is in place, including upgrading the un-irrigated fruit to be entirely organic and biodynamic, with revisions on planting locations and subtle handling adjustments. As well as deep work on the estate s viticultural quality, Telmo has also culled some non-estate grower fruit that had crept in and watered down the estate concept. True to Telmo s cultural-historicist-custodian bent, he has not merely cut contracts to the external growers he has created a new label under which he will continue to guarantee their incomes. Lindes (boundaries) de Remelluri is a new brand with two wines representing the growers in the small villages either side of Remelluri Estate, 'Viñedos de Labastida will be purchased and made as a village wine representing growers on the western boundary of Remelluri, and 'Viñedos de San Vicente a growers village wine from the eastern margin of the estate. LINDES de REMELLURI 'Viñedos de Labastida' Tempranillo, DOCa Rioja LINDES de REMELLURI 'Viñedos de San Vicente' Tempranillo, DOCa Rioja When Telmo took over Remelluri in 2009 he found that his dad had increasingly been buying wines from the villages either side of Remelluri Estate (Labastida on the western linde or side of Remelluri, on the track to Haro, and San Vicente on the eastern linde, the boundary towards Logroño). Telmo immediately culled the grower fruit, but instead of simply cancelling their contracts, and leaving the villagers without income, he decided to make a grower s wine from the villages either side of the estate. Not only did he honour the contracts in 2009, being such a committed historian and cultural conservator, Telmo decided the little village project they had accidentally made as a one-off was in fact a really worthwhile alternate interpretation and expression of Rioja, and he has continued to make the Lindes de Remelluri grower-village wines since (with ongoing improvement in what are now delicious, interesting and very good value wines. The two villages are just 5km apart on a small country road, the A-124 from Haro to Logroño which winds just under the mountains above the north shore of the Ebro. Labastida and San Vicente offer quite different terroir expressions, with no winemaking to influence the differences. It s a very cool project. Labastida is soft, sweet and slick with good energy and nice lines - a cool-soils wine with juicy inky-blue fruits, squeaky and pippy, glossy sweet-seeded and creamy. San Vicente has a warmer aspect and richer ferrous red soils, and although high under the Cantabrica range, it s a

5 village suited to Garnacha as well as Tempranillo. Lindes de San Vicente is a notably more open and earthy wine, with foursquare tannins, nicely blocky compared to the slink of Labastida. LINDES DE REMELLURI RIOJA 2011 viñedos de labastida 14.5 cherries buried in chesnut, hessian and sky, baked straw, it's countryside with lots of space... light, liquorous and delicate; spiced up and round, the fruit runs contrary in shape to Rioja normalcy... cherry/hessian, yes, but round and lacey-tannined more so than in the past. Really lovely acidity teases out the finish very well indeed, instantly leavening any tendency towards chocolate and leather, which linger as delightful hints. viñedos de san vicente 14.0 san vicente is drier but also more savoury, with blockier tannin - foursquare and much more earthy with some lovely herbal aromatics (wispy wild fennel and tobacco). Cherry fruit has a stony reserve here; there is still a sense of sky and space but it's lower and quieter in register, without any sense of being hugged down or gripped. The palate has a touch of chocolate in its distinct earthiness, expressed through a distinctly granular tannin profile. More voiume in total than Labastida, but also more structured and drawn towards the back third, although perhaps without the perfume linger, the walk off "TCH TCH" of Labastida Bodegas Roda, DOCa Rioja, haro Roda wines are essentially vinos de viñas viejas (old vines wines), from vineyards 2/3 owned, and all entirely managed by Roda. In Roda s case, old vines are determined as 35 years or more, though most are 50+. The greater depth of roots and the larger volume of soil encompassed by old vines reduces the influence of drought or excess rain, balances yield and stabilises character. Old vines set smaller, more concentrated berries with much lower juice-skin ratios and more faithfully reflect the mineral nuances of soil through mature natural tannins and acid. Of late, Roda have introduced a new wine, Sela, which is not an old vines release. When the Roda project was set up, extensive vineyard plantings were undertaken. For many years, this material planted by Roda was sold off on the bulk grape market. Nowadays, these 20yo+ plantings, while not old vines, are mature and characterful enough to warrant a release, Sela. Roda Sela Sela is Roda s younger plantings, established in the late 80s. These three vineyards are north of Haro towards Villalba. Until now, this great young material was simply sold off on the bulk fruit market. Now, these vineyards are over 20 years age, nicely mature and deserving release in their own right. Hence, from 2008 we see Sela (note, this is named for the Scandinavian village where Mario and Carmen go for ski holidays, the name is not a Rioja reference). Sela maintains Roda s hallmark of elegance and tannin fineness. 89% Tempranillo, 11% Graciano from sustainable vineyards, crianza of 12 months in used oak. The vines were tutored on poles for their first 12 years, then released to be true bushvines en vaso. Roda Sela 2012 Field herbs, soft, round tannins are nicely rustic, with a nice squareness which sits the wine up in the mouth, pert and relaxed, it then folds out slowly to a gentle finish.

6 Alegre y Valgañon, fonzaleche The future is now Folks, unless I radically miss my mark, the wines of Oscar Alegre and his wife Eva Valgañon will very soon be cult stars of the Riojan firmament. But, you ll see no heroic winemaking from these two. You ll not be prompted to wonder which fabulously expensive oak barrels you are tasting, nor to ponder what proportion of whole bunches configures their winemaking. Utterly informed by the deep history of Rioja (the wines which came before the Industrial Bodegas and the chemical growing-making all too often described as traditional Rioja ), Oscar and Eva make gentle and natural wines expressing the earth and air in their specific sector of Rioja. These are wonderful, characterful wines, and dirt cheap. In 5 years time you ll need an allocation - don t say I didn t tell you well in advance! The villages of Rioja s Wild West Oscar and Eva are intent on a village-specific approach to making Rioja wines. Their key vineyard ( la Calleja ) is part of the Valgañon family s 16 hectare farm in the little village of Fonzaleche. At 580 metres altitude, Fonzaleche is one of the highest and coldest villages of Rioja. It s situated west of Rio Ebro, sheltered below both the Sierra Cantabria (Rioja s northern, Atlantic border) and Montes Obarenes (Rioja s southern, continental, geographical boundary). The soils are continuous with those of Rioja Superior (the north shore of the Ebro) - predominantly chalky limestone. Oscar and Eva make a single vineyard wine from Fonzaleche la Calleja itself. Their other wines blend specific attributes of neighbouring cool hilly villages, Sajazarra (Sa-kha-tha-rrra) and Cihuri (Chee-hoo-ree), as well as the alluvial-soiled village Cardenas (a warmer site, pebbly and iron-rich), south of the Ebro, whence very special Garnacha is sourced. ALEGRE y VALGAÑON Tempranillo-Garnacha, Sajazarra and other villages The second Tinto reflects Oscar and Eva s interest in the deep history of Rioja. Effectively this means blending the soils of Rioja Superior, the cold clay-limestone of the hills above the river, with the warmer alluvial-stone soils of the Rio Ebro delta. The first such Alegre y Valgañon was 2012, a blend of 40% own vineyards in Sajazarra with 35% Tempranillo from San Vicente and 25% Garnacha from Tudelilla. ALEGRE y VALGAÑON Tempranillo-Garnacha 2012, Sajazarra, San Vicente y Tudelilla Aged 26 months in oak, some new (future releases will have shorter and older oak regimes). With dark, brambly fruits, a hint of roasted meat and lovely herbs, it s satin-sheened and ravishingly spiced. Juniper and rosemary mix with cardamom, pomegranate and violet, a touch of leather, anise and fennel. It feels like a fresh and vital update on the old Viña Real Reservas that Oscar adores bravo! The wine has a perfect fit in the mouth: it snugs down solidly in the middle, runs out on a fine leathery line and has a wafting floral lift.

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