Rioja Alert

For a family tradition begun in 1889, Carlos and Ana Martínez Bujanda are the
current stewards of an impressive history at Bodegas Valdemar – now rooted
in the pursuit of wine-making innovation on their 1,000 acre estate. Beginning
about 25 miles south of the French border and in the shadow of the Cantabrian
Mountains, the 3 famed sub-regions: Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa are
clustered around the Ebro River and its tributary Rio Oja. Long considered the
premier source of Spanish wine, local vintners have been practicing and refining
their agricultural art here for well over 2,500 years and counting.

This modern Rioja blend built on an elegant backbone of 80% Tempranillo with
its fruity mouthfeel, will become even more velvety as it ages. Making up fully ¾
of all root-stock planted in this storied region’s vineyards, its name is derived
from the Spanish ‘temprano’ meaning ‘early’ and it does in fact, reliably ripen
quite early. Adding some additional complexity are 10% each of Graciano and
Maturana Tinta. Almost lost as a result of difficult cultivation liabilities including
susceptibility to molds such as Botrytis, these indigenous varieties are seeing
a resurgence of popularity due to the strong aromatic character that Graciano
imparts and the intensity of colour that Maturana provides. As well, both have
a high polyphenol content that promotes better balanced barrel-ageing, which
in the case of this wine’s Crianza designation – means a minimum of 10 months
spent in mainly French and some American (20%) oak.

Ranked #34 in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2013, it’s decidedly a
remarkable showing for an offering under $20 a bottle. This has sufficient body
to hold up well for another 3-4 years – so buy lots and don’t rush to drink it!

Inspiracion

VALDEMAR INSPIRACIÓN SELECCIÓN 2010
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #166512 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 17.00
13.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD

Made in: Rioja, Spain
By: Bodegas Valdemar
Release Date: May 10, 2014

Tasting Note
This is a medium-bodied red with lively acidity, integrated tannins and hints of
both balsamic and spice. Far more polished than one would expect from its
price-point, try serving with braised or charcoal grilled meats and sausages.
Also satisfying as an apéritif with ripe cheeses, spicy tapas and charcuterie.

Tempranillo Alert

Bodegas LAN, founded in 1972, is an acronym derived from 3 provinces in the
Rioja designation of origin – Logroño (now called La Rioja), Álava and Navarra.
This winery’s picturesque 72 acre plot known as Viña lanciano, is a spectacular
horseshoe-shaped location along the meandering, vineyard-lined Ebro River. At
a higher elevation this area is also referred to as Rioja Alta, with a reputation
for producing somewhat lighter, fruit forward wines – resulting from the shorter
growing season and the character of its limestone, sandstone and alluvial soils.

Though La Rioja has ancient traditions of winemaking dating back to the period
of the Phoenicians, it was the King of Navarra and Aragon who was the first to
convey legal recognition on these indigenous wines early on in the 12th century.
Unlike many of the large producers in the region who source their grapes from
numerous independent growers with wide-ranging standards, LAN, as part of a
new generation of Spanish vintner, is producing a more distinctive flavour profile
from the closely managed harvests of its large, single vineyard.

Native to Rioja, grapes for this 100% Tempranillo varietal wine are hand-picked
and sorted, with initial fermentation begun in stainless steel tanks. The Crianza
designation attests to the young wine then being aged in a novel construction of
wooden casks (which combine American Oak staves with French Oak tops) for
12 months, followed by at least another year in the bottle. This current bottling
has 3 yrs. of cellaring at the Bodega and though it offers less complexity than a
Reserva grade, it has serious credentials for a $16.00 offering.

Unlike the perennial and immensely popular DéClassé recommendation of the
2006 thru 2009 vintages, the 2010 release has been ordered by the LCBO in
sufficient amounts so as to qualify for its ‘Vintages Essentials’ listing – happily
making it available throughout the better part of this year!

LAN

LAN CRIANZA 2010
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #166538 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 15.95
13.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD

Made in: Rioja, Spain
By: Bodegas Lan, S.A.
Release Date: Mar 1, 2014

Tasting Note
Layered aromas of red fruit, vanilla and spice. This medium-bodied, lively red has
a smooth balance of light tannins and alcohol. Try pairing it with grilled chicken
salad with Arugula and lemon pepper dressing or leg of lamb and pork loin with
roasted beets and goat cheese salad.