Saturday, January 22, 2011

Glorioso Crianza, Rioja DOCa, Spain

How does one begin to speak of Rioja, Spain? Does one begin at the beginning, with wine production conservatively estimated at 2000 years old? Does one begin with the first recorded wine production in the 8th century? Or the earliest recognition that these wines were unique in 1102? Where does one begin?

     In 1894, the Bodegas Palacio was built in Rioja Alavesa, Spain. It was the hub for a newly formed winery that surrounded it on 170 acres; a winery that was formed around the concept that all wines needed to express their own "signature" or personality. It is a concept embraced by quality craftsmen the world over.

Bodegas Palacio (today)

     Now, the winery is no longer owned by the original family, but seems to be guided by the original dedication to quality over quantity. Rioja has gone through much change in the relatively short period of recent time.... since the 1980's, the entire world of wine has changed and Rioja has changed right alongside it. Outdated fermentation and maturation methods have been discarded, or rather - invigorated with new technology.

     Of course, one hopes that the new technology will never blind people to age-old techniques that have worked for centuries and always will work in the right hands.One hopes, that the vision of Don Cosme Palacio y Bermejillo (the founder of the Glorioso line in 1928) will continue to hold firm: to allow wines to express their signature or personality.

2006 Glorioso Crianza, Rioja DOCa, Spain
13% ABV, $17 CAD **Very Good Value**
100% Temeranillo grape
12 months in French oak
  • visual:     clean; dark garnet core with light cherry rim
  • nose:     clean; moderate+ intense aromas showing development; dark and red berries especially black cherry, blackberry, old leather, baked earth, slight jammy roasted strawberry, light florals
  • palate:   clean; dry, moderate+to full- (cranberry) acids, moderate (slightly chewy) tannins, moderate- ABV, moderate- to light body, moderate- intense developed flavors of baked earth, leathery French oak, baked or dried black berries, slightly peppery finish. Strong balance, moderate+ structure and moderate in length
  • conclusion:   For $18 it's hard to do better in the BC market... well balanced acids and relatively soft tannins - it can certainly be enjoyed on its own. Some rich flavors and aromas mean it can be paired with food as well. Drink now though as it has peaked
  • PAIRINGS:   Strong enough acids and light enough flavors mean this is a beautiful wine for duck! Duck carpaccio, duck roulade stuffed with arugula, duck confit on fresh bread... instead of duck? Pasta with chevre and Parma ham (and fresh peas)
     Good wine is everywhere, if one knows where to look. Thank you for letting me look for you, and hopefully find a few deals out there. This isn't the best wine I've ever had, or even the best under $20, but I am impressed with it.... because as the Burghound would say "It is the duty of all wine to express terroir". This wine, I believe, accomplishes that and is a nice way to become acquainted with Rioja.

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