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2013 La Montesa, Herencia Remondo, Crianza, Bodegas Palacios Remondo
Bodegas Palacios Remondo is based in Alfaro in the Rioja Baja. This old family firm has been revitalised by the arrival of Alvaro Palacios who has already made his name, starting from scratch, with his extraordinary Priorato wines.
He has since returned to the family property in Rioja Baja, and in a very short space of time, has decreased production by 60% and increased quality by a far higher factor! The most Southerly of the Rioja vineyards, Baja centres on the rich silty soils of the River Ebro, its best vineyards, such as this, at quite considerable altitude (550 metres).
Placet is a beautifully refined, balanced, lightly perfumed white Rioja - made in oak but without the influence of new wood. The reds offer a range of options across different price ranges. The Vendimia is exuberantly juicy, for immediate consumption.
The Crianza La Montesa has a glossy feel to an otherwise traditional style. A 90 hectare plot with vines up to 550 metres of altitude, Montesa is fermented in large oak vats then aged for 10 months in French barriques, 50% of which are new. The make-up of the blend varies according to the vintage; despite the majority shareholding, as one might expect, of Tempranillo and Garnacha, each year there is correspondingly more Mazuelo and Graciano, both adding interest. The wine has complex flavours with spice and tapenade, tar and licorice in addition to the blackberry, cassis and loganberry which are the classic hallmarks of Tempranillo.
The new flagship however is Propriedad, a wonderful example of modern winemaking, using new French oak yet really letting both the fruit and the terroir express themselves.
A high quality red wine grape that is grown all over Spain except in the hot South - it is known as Tinto Fino in Ribera del Duero, Cencibel in La Mancha and Valdepenas and Ull de Llebre in Catalonia. Its spiritual home is in Rioja and Navarra where it constitutes around 70% of most red blends.
Tempranillo-based wines tend to have a spicy, herbal, tobacco-like character accompanied by ripe strawberry and red cherry fruits. It produces fresh, vibrantly fruit driven "jovenes" meant for drinking young. However Tempranillo really comes into its own when oak aged, as with the top Riojas where its flavours seem to harmonise perfectly with both French and American oak, producing rich, powerful and concentrated wines which can be extraordinarily long-lived.
In Ribera del Duero it generally sees less oak - the exception being Vega Sicilia where it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and then aged for an astonishing 7 years in oak and is unquestionably one of the world`s greatest wines.
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