2016 Sierra de Toloño Blanco Rioja
Region: Rioja < Spain
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Biodynamic farming, clay-chalk soils, 650m altitude (highest vineyards in Rioja); aged 90% in tank, 10% neutral barrel, then racked off the lees before bottling; unfined/unfiltered with 30ppm SO2 added at bottling; 750 cases made; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Sandra Bravo Marin
We featured Sandra’s Rioja last year, and are now are crushing on her blanco. Quick recap: Sandra is a young female vigneron who didn’t grow up in the wine biz, but followed her passion to join the boys club of Rioja and make wine. First, though, she traveled the world making wine, with well-respected names in France and California, before settling back in her home country for her own project. Though she doesn’t own vineyards, Sandra does all the vineyard farming herself, biodynamically, and is very hands-off in the cellar. This white is produced from a few rows of vines interspersed among the Tempranillo in a few of her rocky, high-altitude Rioja Alavesa parcels. Feminine with a powerful core, it is brisk and mineral, with a cool-vintage Chablis quality to it. And some really interesting ginger spice. Viura can be a very bland, flabby grape – this wine is anything but. Sandra is a winemaker to watch!