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.

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.