Rioja Crianza La Montesa
DOC Rioja, Alvaro Palacios, 2016
This is a wine that has conquered the hearts of many wine lovers, and which continues its triumphal procession. Combined with food, it’s (almost) an all-rounder. With its delicate round tannins and its juicy freshness, it’s an elegant companion on the table. The aging in barrels accompanies the complex aromatic with aromas of mocha, milk chocolate and gingerbread spices. Ripe, intense fruit aromas of prune and dark fruits dominate the palate.
|Origin:||Spain / Rioja|
|Grape variety:||Garnacha, Tempranillo|
|Maturity:||2 to 6 years|
|Serving temperature:||16 to 18 °C|
|Drinking suggestion:||Apéro riche, Coq au vin, Crispy roast chicken, Giant crevettes, grilled langoustines, Paella|
|Vinification:||fermentation with grapes' own yeast, long must fermentation, fermentation in steel tank, Pumping over, protein fining|
|Harvest:||hand-picking, strict selection, selecting the grapes (by hand)|
|Maturation:||in new barriques, in used barriques|
|Maturation duration:||12 months|
Spain – Variety and perfection
“Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember...,” begins Don Quixote's odyssey.
The most famous part is definitely when Don Quixote thinks windmills are his enemy and wants to fight them – until they nearly kill him. It’s possible there was a bit too much of the La Mancha wine at play. Spanish vines fight for their survival in rugged landscapes, battling fierce drought and rough soils. But they fight well.
Rioja: A legend in upheaval
It is the flagship of the Spanish wine industry: the Rioja region, with its elegant, yet storable wines, most of which are dominated by the Tempranillo, has decisively influenced the image of Spanish wine. Above all, the Reservas and Gran Reservas, aged for years in barrels, enjoy a magical reputation. For about 20 years, the Rioja houses have created a sensation with modern-designed, fruity wines, which are marked more by their terroir than their aging processes.
Bodega Palacios Remondo, Alvaro Palacios
He was born 'at home', right above his father's bodega. The scent of wine and barrels must have been lying in the air and thus dictated his further life. He studied oenology in Bordeaux and gathered professional experience at the Château Pétrus, and in London, Dublin, and California. Today, he owns vines in the Priorat county, in Bierzo, and at home in the Rioja, and proves his extraordinary talent with premium wines year after year.
He loves his family, motorcycles, nature, songs by Camarón, a challenge and taking risks. He seems believable when he confesses that his second calling would have been to be a 'torero', a bullfighter. He bristles with dynamism and power.
He went to Bordeaux to study oenology when he was 21 years old. The next stage saw him working at the Château Pétrus for two years. Then he returned home. His father José Palacios Remondo had built a bodega in close to Alfaro in 1948 following a family tradition dating back to 1651. However, Álvaro felt constricted upon his return. In 1989, he was pulled towards the abandoned Priorat, where his first resounding success would take place shortly. He was restless to hurry to the next challenge in Bierzo, where he prompted the next furore. His international reputation as a star winegrower had already been established when his father died in 2000. This marked the right moment to return home – his birthplace.
The Tempranillo is the emblem of Spain. With its juicy cherry fruit, crisp tannins, and its notes of leather and spices, it gives the Rioja its face. In the Ribera del Duero, it is known as Tinta del país. Here it turns out focused and muscular. As it has inhabited the Iberian Peninsula for centuries, it is known under countless synonyms. Across the border in Portugal, it is called Tinta Roriz, and lends colour and body to port wine. It also plays an important role in the booming wine scene of the Douro Valley. The Tempranillo owes its name to its early maturity – "temprano" in Spanish means "early". Tip: do it like they do in Spain and enjoy it with lamb.
Grenache seldom comes alone
Spaniards and Sardinians make the Grenache contentious: both claim it originated from their country. In fact, it had already appeared in both places by the 16th century. But a large number of mutations in Spain indicates that it has deeper roots on the Iberian Peninsula. The Grenache is meaty, rich in tannins and spicy, with a wonderful, fruity sweetness and rich aromas of blackberry, cassis, plums and pepper. Under the name Garnacha, it contributes fullness to the Rioja. In Sardinia it is called Cannonau, where it yields strong, expressive wines. But its stronghold is in France. Grenache is the star in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and streams into many other assemblages from the south. Its preferred partners are Syrah and Mourvèdre. This blend is also very popular abroad. In Australia, these wines are simply called "GSM".