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A Quick Trip Back to Rioja – the Spanish Series Part 13

Bodegas Loa Countryside

Landscape near Bodegas Loa

We’re going to take a look at a few more wines from Rioja before we explore a new area in the Spanish series.  Previously we had introduced Rioja, and covered several producers in the region.  You can read the first article on Rioja by clicking here.  This is anLoa and Picardo map ancient wine producing area, and one which has always been known for quality.  Some of the greatest values available are in older Rioja Reserva and Gran Reserva wines.  Let’s take a look at three more, from entry level to something worthy of Reserva status.

We have two wines from Bodegas Picardo, located in the lower region of Rioja Baja, and a wine from Bodegas Loa, located in the higher elevation Rioja Alavesa region.  The wines are all from the portfolio of Casalbor Wine & Spirits, and you can see one of our earlier reviews of their wines from Ribera del Duero and Rueda by clicking here.  Let’s see what’s in the bottles currently under consideration:

IMG_2444Wine:  2014 Conde de Picardo Tempranillo  

Winery Location:   Aldeanueva de Ebro, Rioja Baja, Spain

Tasted By:  Neil & Cheri                     Date:   August 2017  

Tasting Notes: This would be considered an entry level wine in Rioja, and it is 100% Tempranillo.  The color is a garnet leaning toward grapey purple.  It is transparent.  A nice nose of black cherry, raspberry and anise is accented with a touch of mocha.  There is some richness on the palate, and tart fruit.  Good acid retains balance.  The tannins are light but do build a little at the end.  Good length and medium body round out a pleasant wine. 

Price Point –    $12-$14

Would We Buy It?   Yes, as it is a pleasing Rioja with some character.  At this price point it is a value wine.

Now we’ll stay with Bodegas Picardo but take a step up to their Crianza level wine:

IMG_2443Wine:    2013 Picardo Tinto Crianza

Winery Location:   Aldeanueva de Ebro, Rioja Baja, Spain

Tasted By:     Neil & Cheri                  Date:  August 2017   

Tasting Notes:  This wine is red purple with some garnet hues.  The nose is big, full of ripe fruit.  Primarily black cherry fruit comes through, but also balsamic and toasted/smoky wood as well.  On the palate the wine is medium bodied.  This is a bit lean, with tart cherry and brisk acid.  A great wine to pair with food that will balance an acidic pasta sauce, a grilled pizza as well as a grilled steak.  As a Crianza level wine from Rioja this has to see a minimum of one year in oak and another year in bottle before release.

Price Point –    around $15

Would We Buy It?    yes, primarily for having with meals.  This is a great food wine.

Now we’ll switch to another wine in Casalbor’s portfolio, this one from the Rioja Alavesa, a higher elevation region of Rioja.

IMG_2448Wine:    2012 Bodegas Loa SPES

Winery Location:   Rioja Alavesa, Spain

Tasted By:   Neil & Cheri                  Date:     August 2017 

Tasting Notes:  This wine is a deep, ruby red.  The nose is huge, with dark berries, black cherry, herbal and caramel notes.  On the palate it is luscious, full bodied, rich and complex.  The fruit is decadent, and it finishes very long.  At 14.5% alcohol it is a big wine.  100% Tempranillo.  Outstanding by any measure, this wine is clearly Gran Reserva quality, although it is not marked as such.

Price Point –    $25 – $30

Would We Buy It?   Absolutely.  This is a great wine, and worth every penny.  This goes on the value list.

So three more wines from Rioja, all very different.  The first is quite excellent for the cost, the second is a great food wine and the last is just excellent, period.   Rioja never disappoints us.

We’ll have one more stop in Rioja before we finish this series, but next it’s time for some bubbles and a trip to the home of Cava.

You can read the previous installment in the Spanish series by clicking here.

A votre santé!

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