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Rioja is one of two wine regions with Spain's highest qualification level, DOC or DoCa, the other region being Priorat. There is so much Rioja on the UK market and much of it over-priced, overly sweet and over-oaked because that became the trend from the turn of the century. But there is a danger of the DOC qualification being devalued.
There is now a new wave of winemakers fighting back against the commercial style of Rioja and Telmo Rodriguez is at the forefront; the first time I met him, in February 2016, he told me that Rioja should not be a "recipe", that there is fortunately no longer one style of Rioja as modern winemakers like him focus on the fruit, the 'terroir' and more traditional methods. Telmo has been described by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate as "Rioja's number one Terroirist".
In this wine from old vines on the Remelluri estate owned by Telmo & his sister Amaia, Tempranillo grape is blended with a little Graciano and Garnacha (Grenache); minimal intervention is practised and the wine is certified organic.
Recommended to drink with game, duck, goose, steak and other red meats, poultry, cheese, charcuterie and paella
"Expressive nose with aromas of dark cherries, dark plums, liquorice, vanilla and cedar. It is full-bodied yet elegant on the palate, with a significant but round tannic structure, a wealth of concentration and a complex lingering finish."
95 points Wine Enthusiast Dec 2017
"Alluring aromas of tree bark, licorice root, rose petal and ripe black fruit show elegance. This is a touch grippy and young in feel, but overall it's showing balance. Deep flavors of plum, cherry, wild berry and vanilla finish finessed by a balance of weight and acidity."
A stunning organic Rioja Gran Reserva from the Remelluri winery, part owned by Telmo Rodriguez who was described by Tim Atkins MW in Decanter as one of his top 10 wine producers in the region. It has a silky smooth texture; a complex, rich and yet very elegant Rioja that is a real treat