González Puras Crianza 2012
It’s the case that I’ve been tasting a decent swath of wines from Rioja lately. This is mainly just to see what’s out there these days as in general, I stay quite uninformed as to what is happening in Spain’s most well-known region. Why is this? Well, for the most part it’s due to there being little wine coming from the region that I find terribly interesting. While Spain has managed to get Tempranillo on the tips of any Anglophone’s tongue, they’ve yet to figure out how to make an engaging wine from it that has little more than red fruits and toasted barrel notes. This isn’t to say that I misguidedly think Rioja wines are bad. They are all generally decent at worst which is a pretty good place to be in. If you want a glass of basic red wine, Rioja is there for you and this is why it’s unfortunately more common in Barcelona restaurants than Catalan wines.
Here’s the problem in that there are so many decent wines from the region, it gets hard to find any that start to be crank it up to say 8, let alone the almighty 11. This sample from González Puras stood out though and has a good deal more character than the other wines that I’ve been tasting. Naturally with 600 wineries or so in Rioja, I have plenty more to taste before I can say that I “know” Rioja. Still, wines such as this are a good starting point and while the price is twice what someone might think a Rioja should cost, this, or even a little more is what they should really be paying so that producers can start to make wines that show off a bit more of their locale.
González Puras Crianza 2012
Minor rim variation with deep ruby color and medium viscosity. Typical red fruit notes of cherry as well as plum, licorice, laurel, and menthol. Alcohol comes across as medium in the nose. Red fruits are prominent on the palate as well as crushed forest fruits. The oak is noticeable but not overpowering, with tannins at medium plus and the finish of medium length.
100% Tempranillo 13% 7€
Álvaro Palacios - L’Ermita 2016
Very light red cherry, raspberry, tea leaves, dried fennel, light touch of anise, bay leaf, dried flowers, touch of fig compote, truffle. Exceptionally light and delicate on the palate, very very fine red fruits, integrated tannins, plush with a slightly buttery, velvety aspect, very long finish.
85% Grenache 14% Carignan 1% "Others" · 15% · 1160EUR
Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
Álvaro Palacios - Les Aubaguetes 2016
Linear plum and dark cherry notes, powdery cocoa, orange peel and blossom, raspberry at the base along with minor vanilla and dark spice touches. Delicate on the palate, light touches of dark fruit, good wealth of tannins yet held in check, medium plus acidity, very long finish. Needs much more time in the bottle.
77% Grenache 21% Carignan 1% Grenache Blanc 1% Macabeu · 14.5% · 455EUR
Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
Aquila del Torre - Primaluce 2015
Bruised yellow apple, bit of fig compote, chalky mineral notes, and hazelnut. Light oxidized touches that work to embellish the wine. Rich palate that carries lovely texture with the age of the wine.
100% Sauvignon Blanc · 13.5%
Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
Terroir Sense Fronteres - Guix Vermell 2017
Crisp red cherry fruit, touch of spice, flecks of pepper, baking spice, compacted, wet earth. Delicate on the palate, stays fresh, surprising high wealth of tannins, long finish.
100% Grenache · 13% · 250EUR
Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL