Alegre Valganon Rioja Tinto 2019
SPECIAL BUY 6 or more.Premium high country Rioja.
Alegre Valgañón is located in far Western Rioja, at the base of the Obarenes Mountains. Owned by husband and wife team, Oscar Alegre (cut his teeth working with Alvaro Palacios and Telmo Rodriguez, rockstars of modern Spanish winemaking) and winemaker, Eva Valgañón the winery was started only in 2010. Soils here are similar to those in Alavesa /Alta, with a lime-rich marl base. Sandstone (and sand) become bigger components in vineyards closer to the mountain bases.
Oscar and Eva take a village approach to making Rioja wines. For the most part, they work in a handful of small villages and pueblos in the foothills of Montes Obarenes in Rioja’s remote northwest.
Just 100km inland from the Atlantic, it’s a perfect expression of Rioja’s Continental-Atlantic duality. The vineyards are at around 600 metres altitude on chalky soils.
Their key vineyard, ‘la Calleja’, is part of the Valgañon family farm in Fonzaleche. This pueblo of 80 people, way out west of Haro, has the last vineyards of Rioja as you depart for Burgos. This is hilly mountain country, with lots of stone high up in cold soil, producing light and fluid wines with excellent acid structure.
Oscar and Eva also work in the south, taking special Garnachas from the alluvial-soiled village of Cárdenas in the Najerilla Valley, a warmer sub-region south of the Ebro. Pebbly and iron-rich soils are cooled by Sierra de la Demanda, Rioja’s southern boundary. The foothills above Rio Cárdenas produce exceptionally fine Garnachas. This wine blends Atlantic and Continental, Tempranillo and Garnacha, the foothills of the north and the south, chalk and ferrous clay to produce an authentic, historical ‘Rioja’ on a human scale.
From the winemakers .. “This is a blend of roughly 75% Tempranillo from Obarenes and 25% Garnacha from Cárdenas. The grapes are fermented primarily in wooden vats using indigenous yeast. While once the norm, whole-cluster winemaking is today nearly unheard-of in Rioja. Oscar and Eva are restoring that tradition, inspired by how the best Northern Rhône traditionalists routinely get greater purity and expressiveness by including ripe stems. This wine sees at least 25% whole bunches and is given a 30+ day maceration. The wine is then aged in a mix of used French barriques and demi-muid for 18 months. The result is a blend of vivid fruit and intense mouthfeel uncommon in Rioja today.”
This is gorgeous Rioja, another world away from the ‘industrial ooze’ and overuse of american oak that is known as traditional Rioja. It’s medium to full bodied.. fragrant, pure, perfectly pitched dark fruit, spice, energy balanced by fine grained tannins and perfectly integrated oak. What a delicious rendition .. Premium rioja not to be missed .. Ole !
Reviews of 2016
92 pts Tim Atkin MW: ” Oscar Alegre and Eva Valgañón blend Tempranillo from the Montes Obarenes with 25% Garnacha from Cardenas and Tudelilla, creating an appealing pan-regional blend. It’s very much a cooler, more refreshing style of Rioja, with 15% whole bunches adding some spice to the crunchy summer berries. 2020-26.”
91 points, Josh Raynolds for Antonio Galloni’s Vinous: “Vivid ruby-red. Suave, mineral- and spice-accented aromas of ripe red fruits and candied flowers, along with a subtle touch of cured tobacco. Appealingly sweet and energetic in the mouth, showing seamless texture and sharply delineated raspberry, cherry and floral pastille flavors and a hint of baking spices. Finishes bright, silky and quite long, with fine-grained tannins framing the wine’s lingering fruit.”
92 points, Robert Parker, Jr.’s Wine Advocate: “… It has the advantage of the 2016 vintage, with floral aromas and citrus freshness (it makes me think of blood orange). It has perfectly integrated oak and fine tannins and feels clean (which is how they described the character of the Tempranillo from one of the main vineyards)..
RRP $58 Our Special Price $46.99 when you buy 6 or more bottles
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Grenache and Blends, Tempranillo
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