INSIDER'S PICK: 2010 REMELLURI RIOJA 'LINDES DE REMELLURI VINEDOS DE SAN VICENTE (Wine Advocate 91points) $31.99
When people discuss the wines of Rioja, Remelluri is an estate that will always be a part of the discussion as it has a place in both the traditional and modern styles. The property itself has roots back to the beginnings of viticulture in the Rioja, with the 10th century ruins of a communal wine press carved into the surrounding rock outcropping. A monastic order carried out the winemaking for several centuries until the first Spanish Civil War in the late 1830s, and after the war the land was redistributed and sold. Much of the importance of the sire was lost by the fragmentation until 1967 when the Rodriguez family bought the core Labastida vineyard and began reassembling the original monastic holdings. Some of the more traditional estates have longer more uninterrupted ties to tradition which almost mandates them continue to make wines in a certain historical manner, but Remelluri embraces a 'New' Old School style, tweaking the old recipes and styles without obscuring them. One part of this tweaking has been the creation of their two 'Lindes' wines, recognizing the two adjacent villages to the estate, Labastida and San Vincente. The wines come from growers on opposite sides of the Remelluri property, and express different subtle personalities in the same way red and white Burgundy from Volnay show differences from adjacent Pommard.
A traditional Rioja blend of red grapes (Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Graciano), as well as a touch of white grapes Viura and Malvasia, provide for a much more complex and subtle wine than the more modern and aggressively oaked Riojas. With just the slightest of flowery aromatics from the Malvasia, the white grape actually acts like the small portion of Viognier does in a Northern Rhone red, pumping up the dark fruits and graphite tones. ON the palate the Old School vibe brings lots of polished fine tannins and savory dark fruit skins, while the white grapes take a bit of the extracted weight out, allowing a silkier, more ethereal finish. A serious Rioja that doesn't cost serious money.
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