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Region: Rioja < Spain
Grapes: Tempranillo Peludo
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming, granite soil, very minimal SO2
From high-altitude 80-100 year OWN-ROOTED vines – meaning vines untouched by the phylloxera that destroyed 99.9% of all European vineyards in the late 19th century. Probably the most natural, complex, beguiling Rioja I’ve come across – hand-harvested and fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks, then aged 17 months in used French oak, then aged another 4 years in stainless steel. This is 2006 and it’s the current release! Lightly filtered and bottled with minimal SO2 – and after all the bottle aging, the sulfur has diminished to the point where it is actually less SO2 (14parts/million) than in a no-sulfur added wine. Crazy that it is still so fresh and voluptuous! Dark, ripe berry and earth on the palate, with some spice and eucalyptus. Soft, integrated tannins, delicate acidity, and a long, lingering finish. This will age beautifully for decades. Best Rioja deal ever!