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 elegant and had aged beautifully. It wasn’t just ‘old wine’, but had some real personality.
Next, Remirez de Ganuza. One of the stars of Rioja. Thrillingly good wines, including the dense, tannic 2004 Reserva and the beautifully supple 2001 Gran Reserva.
I was initially worried when I found out that this winery had been blessed by a 100-point Parker score (albeit administered by Dr Big Jay), and that they only used each barrel once. But there was nothing spoofy about these wines. Serious.
Finally, a slightly unusual venture – Ontanon. The focus here was primarily on the art of Miguel Angel Sainz, who has been quite an important connection for the family who own the winery (the Perez Cuevas family), but the wines were impressive too – modern-styled yet fresh, with lovely forward fruit.