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The wines of Martínez Bujanda, Rioja
Camino Viejo Logroño, 01320 Oyón, Spain
Tel: +34941 122188

Overall a consistently good range from this well-reputed family-owned producer from Rioja, Spain. All the reds had plenty of character, and the sole white was fascinating despite the obvious oak component. This company is quite unusual in Rioja in that it is completely self-sufficient for grapes -- mind you, they do own some 400 ha of vineyards. Production is around 250 000 cases a year.

Conde de Valdemar Barrel Fermented 1998 (White)
Single vineyard 100% Viura; barrel fermented in a mixture of French and American oak. Lovely nose: full and oaky with a wonderful bitter lemon twist. On the palate the noticeable oak is well integrated with the bitter-edged fruit. Very interesting and very good+.

Conde de Valdemar Crianza 1997
85% Tempranillo/ 15% Mazuelo. Light red/purple colour with sweet herby caramel nose. Nice balance on the palate with a subtle oak influence. Good/very good.

Conde de Valdemar Reserva 1995
85% Tempranillo/ 15% Mazuelo. Deep red/purple colour. Sweet herby nose with complex strawberry fruit, herbs and caramel. Nice balance on the palate, with some sweetness from the fruit and oak, and drying tannins. Very good.

Conde de Valdemar Gran Reserva 1994
80% Tempranillo/ 20% Mazuelo; spends 30 months in oak barrels. A concentrated red colour, this wine possesses a sweet, exotic nose of herbs and a touch of caramel. The palate is dry with mature fruit, spice and herby notes. Good balance and complexity. Very good+

Martínez Bujanda Garnacha Reserva 1994
An impressive varietal Grenache. This is a concentrated wine, but it is a slightly lighter colour than the others. The sweet herby/spicy nose has subtle notes of tea, leather and caramel. The palate is fascinating and unusual, with mature gamey, spicy notes and sweet fruit and oak. Very good+

Martínez Bujanda Gran Reserva 1993
50% Cabernet Sauvignon/ 50% Tempranillo. Spends 2 years in a mixture of French and American oak barrels. Deep red colour with a brick red rim. Very attractive nose of herbs, spice and cherries is followed up with a mature, spicy palate and drying tannins. Nicely evolved. Very good+

Finca Valpiedra Reserva 1995
A single estate wine from an 80 Ha vineyard, I think I'm right in saying that this is the second vintage to be released. Made predominantly from Tempranillo, but there's also a trace of Mazuelo and Graciano. Deep red/purple colour, with a herby, fruity nose. On the palate this is dense and complex, with firm tannins. Needs time to show its best. Very good+

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