Rioja Baja Garnacha Tinta/Tempranillo

The wine trade in Spain’s La Rioja has both ancient roots and is in an evolutionary transition. Despite a wealth of archaeological evidence for Phoenician, Celtiberian, and Roman winemaking in antiquity, a millennium will pass before a written reference to viniculture appears in Spanish: the 11th-century Carta de población de Longares (Letter to the settlers of Longares). 150 years later in 1102, King Sancho 1st of Navarra and Aragon bestows legal recognition on the region, which births the signature, Rioja Wine.

Regarding the relative quality and practices in modern times, local wine merchants and bodegas have a tradition of marketing wines fashioned from intermixed grapes; supplied by approx. 20,000 growers; drawing from harvests throughout Rioja’s three designated sub-regions: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja. More recently, to better typify their individual output, many bodegas are becoming selective in sourcing their grapes from single zones only. The underlying point is that the varied terroirs of these sub-regions produce discernibly different versions of so-called Rioja wine — so it’s not a uniform styling or grading, but it is a demonstration of progressive-minded innovation.

In the extremely hot, wine-growing countryside around the small town of Alfaro, the deft pairing of innovation with deeply rooted tradition is a desirable combination. The modern production style of minimal handling and filtering helps to preserve the brightness of the wine. The old school facets are to blend some  Garnacha Tinta (Grenache) into the Tempranillo base and incorporate small batches of finished wine from a previous vintage (max. 15%). Both have become widely practiced winemaking strategies in Rioja Baja —the most prolific of the 3 La Rioja sub-regions, and the home terroir of this week’s DéClassé featured producer, Bodegas Palacios Remondo.

Winemaker and visionary figure, Alvaro Palacios, has for some time now been making news in the wine world with his influential strategies of promoting the development of quality over quantity. In 2015 he was the news, having been declared Decanter Man of the Year by the well-regarded journal. It’s a crowning juncture in a critical transition period for this cutting-edge winery that purposefully dared to cut output from 200,000 cases of unremarkable bulk wine down to 50,000 of more refined grades – a business risk that’s continuing to pay off.

La Vendimia (‘the harvest’) is an expressive version of the Spanish Joven designation; a decidedly young wine that has been barrel-aged for less than six months. On the arid and rocky slopes of Monte Yerga, the Bodega draws fruit from 40 hectares of vines that are grown organically without irrigation — at some of Rioja Baja’s highest altitudes (+550m). By design it’s meant to be enjoyed young and year-on-year it continues to be offered at a fair price-point. That’s still very much the case!

PALACIOS REMONDO LA VENDIMIA 2016
VINTAGES/LCBO — Product #674564 | 750 mL bottle
Price $17.95
14.0% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content: XD

Made in Rioja, Spain
By: Bodegas Palacios Remondo
Release Date: March 31, 2018

Tasting Note
Consistently well made, this cherry-coloured, fruit-driven wine reveals aromas of blackberry and raspberry, and a hint of Garrigue (fragrant, wild Mediterranean shrubs).
As a versatile, medium-body wine, enjoy this with hearty fare, such as Jamón ibérico (cured ham), semi-cured Mahón cheese, grilled Herreño cheese drizzled with honey,  Ratatouille, lamb ragout, or most roasted meat dishes.

Rioja Garnacha Tinto/Tempranillo

As a signature example of both Spanish modern and old school winemaking methods, this fresh-fruited red represents the vanguard for well-made table wines in Spain’s blossoming, quality revolution. Here in the extremely hot wine country around Alfaro, it’s a desirable combination; deftly pairing innovation with deeply rooted tradition. It is modern in that the updated production style of minimal handling and filtering helps to preserve the brightness of the wine, balanced with a soft and integrated presence of Oak. The old school facets are a blending proportion of 40% Garnacha Tinta (Grenache) into the 60% Tempranillo base, as well as, incorporating small batches of finished wine from the previous vintage (max. 15%). Both are typical in Rioja Baja, the most prolific of the 3 La Rioja sub-regions – home to this week’s DéClassé featured wine from the renowned vintner, Bodegas Palacios Remondo.

Winemaker and visionary figure, Alvaro Palacios, has for some time now been making news in the wine world with his influential strategies of promoting the development of quality over quantity. In 2015 he was the news, having been declared Decanter Man of the Year by the well-regarded journal. It’s a crowning juncture in a key transition period for this cutting edge winery that purposefully dared to cut output from 200,000 cases of unremarkable bulk wine down to 50,000 of refined grades – a business risk that’s now paying off.

La Vendimia (‘the harvest’) is a solid version of a Spanish Joven designation; a decidedly young wine that has been barrel-aged for less than six months. Here on the arid, rocky slopes of Monte Yerga, the Bodega draws fruit from 40 hectares of 10 – 40-year-old vines; grown organically without irrigation, at some of Rioja Baja’s highest altitudes (+550m). Along with the varietal bottling of 100% Tempranillo, famously fashioned in the other two La Rioja sub-regions of Alta and Alavasa, this is as close to a perfect, informal sipping wine that Spain currently produces. By design it’s meant to be enjoyed young and year-on-year it continues to be offered at a fair price-point. That’s still very much the case!

La Vendimia

PALACIOS REMONDO LA VENDIMIA 2015
VINTAGES – Product #674564 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 16.95
14.0% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content: XD

Made in: Rioja, Spain
By: Bodegas Palacios Remondo
Release Date: May 13, 2017

Tasting Note
Consistently well made, this cherry-coloured, fruit-driven wine reveals aromas of blackberry jam, raspberry and a hint of Garrigue (fragrant, wild Mediterranean shrubs). Enjoy this on its own or with hearty fare such as Ratatouille, lamb ragout, or pretty much most BBQ-roasted dishes.

Garnacha Tinta Alert

As a signature example of both Spanish modern and old school winemaking
methods, this fresh-fruited red represents the vanguard for well-made table
wines in Spain’s blossoming, quality-revolution. Here in the extremely hot wine
country around Alfaro, it’s a desirable combination, which deftly pairs innovation
with deeply rooted tradition. It is modern, in that the updated production style
of minimal, mechanical handling and filtering helps to preserve the brightness
of the wine, balanced with a softer, integrated presence of Oak. The old school
facets are a higher blending proportion of 50% Garnacha Tinta (Grenache)
into the standard Tempranillo base, as well as, incorporating small batches of
finished wine from the previous vintage (max. 15%). Both are typical in this 3rd
La Rioja sub-region called Baja – home to this week’s DéClassé featured wine
from vintner, Bodegas Palacios Remondo.

Winemaker and visionary figure, Alvaro Palacios, has for some time now been
making news in the wine world with his influential strategies of promoting the
development of quality over quantity. As of this Spring, he is the news, in having
been declared Decanter Man of the Year 2015 by the well-regarded journal.
It’s an apt, crowning juncture for a cutting edge winery that purposefully dared,
in a key transition period, to cut output from 200,000 cases of unremarkable
bulk wine to 50,000 of refined grades – a business risk that’s now paying off.

La Vendimia (‘the harvest’) is a solid version of a Spanish Joven designation;
a decidedly young wine, which has been barrel-aged for less than six months.
Here on the arid, rocky slopes of Monte Yerga, the Bodega draws fruit from
240 hectares of 10-40-year-old vines, grown organically, without irrigation, at
some of Rioja Baja’s highest altitudes (+550m). Along with the varietal bottling
of 100% Tempranillo, famously fashioned in the other two La Rioja sub-regions
of Alta and Alavasa, this is as close to a perfect, informal sipping wine that Spain
currently produces. By design, it’s meant to be enjoyed young and year-on-year,
continues to be offered at a modest price-point. That’s very much, still the case!

La Vendimia

PALACIOS REMONDO LA VENDIMIA 2014
VINTAGES – Product #674564 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 15.95
14.0% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content: D

Made in: Rioja, Spain
By: Bodegas Palacios Remondo
Release Date: August 22, 2015

Tasting Note
Consistently well made, this cherry-coloured, fruit-driven wine reveals aromas of
blackberry jam, raspberry and a hint of Garrigue (fragrant, wild Mediterranean
shrubs). Enjoy this on its own or with hearty fare such as Ratatouille, lamb ragout,
or pretty much most BBQ-roasted dishes.