Baron de Ley's Graciano and Maturana

Following on from my recent report of new varieties in Rioja, I was pleased to see that Tesco are now stocking two wines from Rioja producer Baron de Ley’s new Varietales range. They consist of a Maturana and a Graciano, and both are competitively priced at £8.99.

I’ll be honest: both might have been slightly better [...]

New varieties in Rioja

I’m currently in the process of writing up a series based on a visit to Rioja. The latest instalment involves Valdemar, who are doing some interesting work with new varieties in Rioja.

One that is completely new is Tempranillo Blanco, which is a white variety that was discovered in the middle of a vineyard a decade [...]

Fonseca 1970, Delamain 1914, Vin de Constance 1988 and other treats

Had a very enjoyable dinner last night at the offices of Mentzendorff, a major high-end UK agency house. It was more fun than work, but I took some notes on the wines in my usual geeky way. Here they are.

Champagne Ayala Perle d’Ayala Nature 2002
This is the non-dosage version of Ayala’s prestige cuvee, and it’s one [...]

Video: harvest in Rioja

Here’s a short film from my recent Rioja trip. It looks at the harvest at a couple of wineries. There’s a contrast between Finca Allende receiving their Graciano, and La Rioja Alta and their grape reception. The racking of the tens of thousands of barrels at La Rioja Alta is also really interesting.

Rioja, day 3: at last, a vineyard, and a spectacular barrel hall

Sadly, it was the last day in Rioja. Just one visit: LAN.

I’d really enjoyed the previous two days, but up till now we hadn’t been shown a single vineyard. This is despite the fact that Rioja’s treasures are its wonderful vineyards, and the weather was perfect for photography. It’s probably because this is a very [...]

Logroño tapas crawl

So it was off to Calle Laurel for the compulsory tapas bar crawl last night. It was Tuesday, so it wasn’t terribly busy, but there was enough of a buzz for it to be fun.

The way it works is that each of the scores of tapas bars tends to specialize in one dish. You order [...]

Rioja, day 2

Day two in Rioja has been another day of contrasts. Three very different wineries, reflecting the spread that you find in this region.

First up, La Riojanas  – with a production of 4.2 million bottles, a large-ish winery. A mix of traditional and modern styles, with the highlight being a 1964 Gran Reserva that was truly [...]

Out in Logrono

Dinner last night was at Asador el Tahiti in Logroño. It’s a traditional Riojan restuarant and we ate and drank well. Particularly interesting was Morcilla, which is pig’s blood and rice, and, in this case a thin pastry case. It was delicious.

Wine of the night was the Remelluri Rioja Reserva 2005. For just 18 Euros [...]

Rioja, day 1

First day in Rioja. Three very different wineries visited. First, Finca Allende: modern, terroir driven, with lovely wines, including the brilliant Calvario, a single-vineyard offering. Good white, too. Aurus, their top wine, a little too rich and oak-influenced for me.

Second, La Rioja Alta. One of the traditional Haro wineries, making older-styled wines. But these are [...]

Off to Rioja

Travelling again. Just for a few days.

One of the aspects of my ‘job’ (I’m embarrassed to call it that, even though I work very hard) that I most enjoy, is the ability to travel to new places, meet new people, and learn quite a bit in the process.

I’ve been to Rioja before, but just for a day. [...]