Friday Feature – ¡Rioja!

Hello and Happy Friday!

In just over two weeks, I will be heading to Spain to visit wineries, meet winemakers and taste new vintages from an extensive array of appellations.

I will be traveling from Saturday, August 25th and will return Tuesday, September 11th.

During that time, the store will be open on limited days with limited hours, as Huge will be around to help you with all your wine needs.  I will be following up shortly with the amended store hours in some upcoming emails.

While my wine trips are quite a bit of fun, I also take them very seriously, as my hundreds of trips to wineries over the years have provided me with an intimate knowledge of wineries and wine regions.

Losing a couple weeks of time at the store is costly to my business, but I’ve determined that it is necessary for me to continue to travel in order to provide the level of knowledge and service that I strive for.

By stocking up before I leave, and patronizing the store while Huge takes over, you are supporting my endeavors and helping make Perman Wine Selections an even better store to shop at.

Your support is greatly appreciated!

In anticipation of my trip, today’s Friday Feature focuses on a region near and dear to my heart – Rioja!  Rioja is rediscovering itself as we speak.  There is more talk about terroir, and better quality than ever before.  Today’s feature highlights an amazing Rioja value, as well as two incredible collector wines.  There is no other wine region in the world that sells mature wines, stored for you at the winery, for such a reasonable price.

Enjoy the read!

Cheers,

Craig

2008 Luberri Rioja “Biga”
Luberri is a name that many of you will recognize as I’ve featured the wines on these pages before.  Located in the village of Elciego in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa region, owner Florentino Martínez Monje is one of Rioja’s most well-respected producers.  His name is most closely linked with the famed Artadi winery, which he helped put on the map as their first winemaker.

Florentino opened his own winery, Luberri, in 1992.  He owns 35 hectares of vines mainly in Elciego and Laguardia.  With low yields and organic viticulture, the wines offer amazing quality for the extraordinarily competitive prices.

“Biga” is Florentino’s “Crianza,” a wine aged in oak for 1 year and rested in bottle for 2 years thereafter.  It is made entirely with Tempranillo, from 40+ year old vines.  Florentino uses both American and French oak in the aging of “Biga.”

The 2008 vintage is beautiful.  Packed full of red and black berry notes, woodsy notes, and pepper spice.  This will appeal to many drinkers as its texture is Pinot Noir-like, yet with distinctly Rioja flavors.

Very versatile at the table, try it with roasted chicken or leg of lamb.  A great value!
$22.99 BTL. / $275.88 CASE

1999 Remelluri Rioja Gran Reserva
Remelluri is one of the most important producers not only in Rioja, but all of Spain.  This is a huge property, almost 200 acres of land located in Labastida, within Rioja Alta.  The estate’s history goes back to the 14th century, but its modern history starts in 1967 when it was purchased by Jaime Rodríguez Salis.  Today, Telmo Rodríguez presides, and the wines are better than they ever have been before.

It is absolutely ridiculous that this wine is available in our market!  

It is virtually sold out throughout the rest of the country.  I’ve had the pleasure of trying it on several occasions, and it is a truly magical Rioja.  The Remelluri Gran Reserva is sourced from the oldest vines on the estate, between 50 and 100 years old.  The wine was fermented in both stainless steel tanks and 5000-liter wooden vats.  It was aged for 27 months in old French and American oak barrels.

For those that drink the finest aged Burgundy, Bordeaux and Barolo, the scents and flavors of this wine will thrill you on the same level.  Notes of porcini mushroom, tobacco leaf, strawberry and pencil lead on the nose.  Nuanced and detailed on the palate, this wine has an elegance that is difficult to put into words.   Simply amazing, and a crazy value given its pedigree!

Pair this with duck, squab or even a rare dry-aged steak.
$77.99 BTL. / $467.94 SIX-PACK CASE

1994 López de Heredia Rioja “Bosconia” Gran Reserva
Yes – you read that right.  This is the current release from one of Rioja’s most legendary producers López de Heredia.  I special ordered some of this for my customers just because I know you “needed” this in your wine life!  Here is a little refresher on the wine from a previous newsletter of mine:

“People often ask what goes into my cellar? One of my favorite wines to age and consume in its prime are the great Rioja of the regions most traditional producer, R. López de Heredia.  The winery was founded way back in 1877, and since the 1890’s they have been releasing a Gran Reserva only in very special vintages.

Want to know how special the vintage has to be?  In almost 120 years of producing Gran Reservas, only a little over twenty vintages have qualified so far.  The family decides if the wine is worthy by tasting through its evolution several times up to the eighth year.  If at that point the wine has evolved and shows the breed that characterizes a Gran Reserva, then the wine is kept in the cellars for another decade before its release at age 18.  Yes, this producer ages the wine for you so that you can enjoy it at the beginning of its prime. I say beginning because these Gran Reservas can age a really, really long time!  There is never a need to question the quality of a vintage when R. López de Heredia releases a Gran Reserva, history has proved that.

It’s apparent that I skipped the basics in my excitement.  There are a few things you should know about this winery. R. López de Heredia is located in the Rioja Alta section of Spain’s famed Rioja region.  Tempranillo is the backbone of any R. López de Heredia Rioja, but Garanacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano also plays a pivotal role in the blending. The winery has two of the most spectacular vineyards in the region bottled under the names “Viña Bosconia” and “Viña  Tondonia.”  The latter is the more famed of the two, as the vineyard is larger and produces more bottles.  Both are equally good in my mind, just different.

“Viña Bosconia” is all about elegance. The 40+ year old vines in “El Bosque” are harvested all by hand in traditional conical wooden baskets called “comportas.”  The wine is fermented in very large, old oak barrels, and fermentation only occurs with natural, indigenous yeasts.”

1994 is a spectacular vintage for this wine region and particular wine!  It is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, and the remainder comes from Mazuelo and Graciano.  It was aged for 10 years in barrel, racking twice during the year.

This has been barrel- and bottle-aged for you, so you can open and decant this to smell its magical secondary aromas of forest floor, cherry, strawberry and flowers.  Incredible long, with a mineral streak running through it, it is wonderfully elegant and nuanced.  You can drink this now, but I have no doubt that this will age gracefully over the next 30+ years!

It is very important to buy these wines on their current release.  The winery does re-release older bottles, but because of their rarity they have gotten quite expensive.  This is one of the most rare of the López de Heredia wines, with only 4,600 bottles produced.

Collectors and lovers of the world’s finest aged red wines – do not miss this!
$95.99 BTL. / $1151.88 CASE

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