Bodegas Hacienda Grimón and their Monovarietal Range


If you visit you’ll see just three lines about the history of Bodegas Hacienda Grimón – they prefer to let their wines do the talking! And why not, when they are so eloquent?


There’s an impressive portfolio of traditional red wines – Joven, Crianza and Reserva; there’s a trad white too, Viura with some oak ageing, as well as a new wave white with a contribution from the would-be usurper, Sauvignon Blanc. I enjoyed the precise wine making of the reds above which I believe to be exemplary of their styles, in the modern way, details and tasting notes to follow. (I haven’t yet had the opportunity to try the whites, nor the pretty rosado).


However, it’s their medal winning monovarietal range that really captures the imagination! Understandably, I believe, most people think first (and probably, only) of Tempranillo, when considering Rioja red wine. Far more often than not, this is correct – I don’t have the figures but I don’t think it too much of a risk to state that ‘most’ red Rioja has at least some Tempranillo in the blend (if indeed it is a blend). It’s what made Rioja famous!


So, there’d be something wrong if Hacienda Grimón didn’t include a Tempranillo in their monovarietal range. They do, of course, and when you taste it you’ll realise why it is that Tempranillo is now grown in many different countries, to the extent that there is actually an annual ‘Tempranillo’s of the World’ competiton. I’d suggest that they should enter next year’s competition!


However, red Rioja is not just about the early ripening Tempranillo. Graciano, is another of the favoured varieties of this famed region – and the truth is, we couldn’t decide which we liked most when we did a comparative tasting recently. Both are outstanding, and incidentally, very attractively packaged.


I wasn’t able to taste the other variety in this triumvirate – the 100% Garnacha, but I’m certainly hoping to in the future, if these two are anything to go by!


Desvelo Graciano is something of a chameleon, in that it seems to change in the glass, from one guise to another! When I first tasted the wine, it having breathed for sufficient time, there was a lightness about it on the palate – elegant and graceful. Ten minutes later, the elegance was still apparent, but is had seemed to have gained weight and presence. Similarly, on the finish, there is a lightness on the palate, with a pleasing rush of lasting fruit after swallowing!

Picota cherry in colour, there are delightful cherry and loganberry notes in the mouth with some liquorice and mountain herb in there too.


Finca La Oracion Tempranillo has also enjoyed its malolactic fermentation in new French and American oak, which gives both wines a little extra depth, flavour and aroma, though, nowhere near masking the varieties’ expression – which, after all, is the main objective in this portfolio.

Mature dark fruits on the nose and palate, which sit nicely with the lovely dark red as the wine settles in the glass. Some earthy, fallen leaves aromas add an extra dimension – the wine has presence, filling the mouth and warming the taster. A long finish and we reach again for the glass!


Hacienda Grimón’s Joven Rioja Red when poured initially had a fresh strawberry node to it. Quite lightweight on the palate, as the wine warmed it became fuller. I’d recommend decanting this wine an hour before tasting – it’s a lovely example of modern, fruit driven, uncomplicated young Rioja.

The Crianza is also 100% Tempranillo and has rested in oak, French and American, for a minimum of 12 months, with added time in bottle to finish the wine’s cellar development before release. I’d recommend this Crianza to anyone who wanted an intro in this Rioja style. Meat dishes and cheese – a lovely match!

My final wine (for now!) from this family owned bodega was the Reserva. Here the Tempranillo has the addition of 15% Graciano, and the difference is pleasantly noticeable. Full, but elegant, with dark cherry  notes as well as a little blackcurrant and leafy brambly fruit. A light touch of liquorice completes the picture and the finish is long, fruity and satisfying.

Contact Colin: Twitter @colinonwine

Facebook Colin Harkness. Wine tastings/bodega visits and more!

Received with thanks after my visit to Bodegas Joan de la Casa!

Hola Colin,
Muchas gracias por todo, el interés en nuetros vinos, la visita a la
bodega y por supuesto por tu magnífico artículo.
Saludos cordiales y estamos en contacto.
Joan Pastor
Joan de la Casa. Viticulto

Tuesday 24th April – Wine Pairing Lunch in Javea!

Several will remember the truly excellent and generous wine tastings with great lunches held at Pepe’s atmospheric and authentic, La Parilla, in Javea Old Town, on the tiny calle opposite the main entrance to the church!

Well, I’m delighted to announce that Pepe and Bodegas Balmoral have invited me to present a tasting with lunch at Pepe’s on Tuesday 24th April, beginning at 1pm.

We are tasting, two Sparklers, very much in the Champagne style (the wine maker is French!) – a white and a rosé: a white wine, and two reds. Bodegas Balmoral makes top quality still and sparkling wines, which I just know you are going to love!

The menu, which will follow this e-mail asap, will be designed around these wines, and as many will know, Pepe really knows his cooking!

It’s 30€ and I can’t wait!

Please Note: La Parilla is small and in order to make sure we are comfortable, numbers will have to be limited – this is why I’m giving you as much advance notice as possible! In fact we have now only 9 places left!

So you can reserve by e-mail to; or please whatsapp or call me on (00 34) 629 388 159.

Thanks for your time!


The Future is Bright, the Future is Orange!


In Cork Talk, I’m hardly likely to be talking telecommunications, the less so, knowing my ineptitude with most things technological! No, I’m talking about a ‘new’, or rather, re-invented (there’s evidence to suggest that wines of this style were made 5,000 yrs ago!) style of wine – dubbed, because of its colour, Orange Wines! Put simply, Orange Wines are made with white wine grape varieties (yes, Sauvignon Blanc et al) where, as with red wines, their skins are kept in contact with the juice (macerated), often for long periods of time.

Wine tasting is so much more fun when not alone! The lovely Claire-Marie ( also enjoying the ‘Orange Wines’ of Juan de la Casa, Benissa, Alicante.

Whilst the colour of the wine gives its name to the style, this is not the main reason for this extra skin contact – the orange colour is a by-product. The skins of grapes destined to be made into wine contribute significantly to the flavour, aroma, structure, body and even feel of the finished product – not just the colour.

I was delighted to hear recently from my friend, colleague and fellow wine judge, Juan Manuel Gonzalvo, telling me that I really should visit Bodegas Joan de la Casa, which, coincidentally, is only a few kilometres! A quick phone call resulted in a late morning visit to the bucolic bodega, just off the N332 on the way from Benissa to Calpe, which is the now modernised (to a point!) HQ of his small, family winery.

Joan is driven! He is a great believer in the Orange Wine style and, although he also makes two red wines (watch this space!), all his white wines – are Orange!

Firstly, I think it’s best to put out of your mind the concepts of: White, Rosado and Red. Just as we can’t compare wine with beer, I don’t believe we can compare Orange wines with any of the others. It should be a category of its own as it’s so – well, different!

Nimi 2015, made, as are all the portfolio, from approximately 40 year old vines is a dry wine whose juice, as we’ve said, spends time with the skins. Fermented in stainless steel and kept with its lees, with very little stirring, the wine has an immediate aroma of mandarin skin with a little bitter marmalade in there too, developing into a floral fragrance with some nuts (hazelnuts/almonds?) as well. 8€

Because it’s such a different style, concept even, it looks like its oxidised or maybe a sweet wine, but it is neither. A wine with attitude, body and presence – made from white Moscatel grapes! Fascinating.

Nimi 2013 is older of course, pleasingly dry again,with longer maceration time, in fact about 20 days (unheard of with white wines!). Darkly coloured, which puts one in mind of an Oloroso or Amontillado (though that is where the similarity ends – this is no sherry!) there is a slightly more intense aroma of orange skins with mixed nuts & sultanas too, and even more presence on the palate. The wine, like the other, is also elegant. 8€

My favourite, Nimi Tossal 2015, is made with grapes grown on the summit of the hill nearby and so has had the benefit of cooler breezes during the day and more favourable temperatures at night. Fewer bunches are produced and the grapes are therefore a little richer. Juan determined that the combination of these factors would suit some oak!

Fermented in barrel after a long maceration, it rested for a further 12 months in oak, with its lees contributing to the finished wine. Everything in this wine is in perfect balance – it’s dry and fresh, there’s a little butter blending with panaderia notes and a very slight saline touch on the finish – I love it! Enjoy a glass on its own and have it with mixed and seafood paella; meaty fish dishes, including with sauce; pork, turkey; and various pâtés. 12€

The final Orange wine, also made with Moscatel, is a sweet one – but with that crucial fresh acidity. I thought it a masterstroke to serve this wine with dark chocolate, a super pairing! The harvested grapes are dried on matting, as was done in this area decades ago. The water content evapourates leaving a sweet deposit which is pressed and then placed in French barricas for fermentation, and to rest for 12 months.

On the nose some orange and clementine aromas with a tantalising caramel note too, as well as a touch of honey. Before you reach the dark chocolate stage, try this wine with Foie Gras and with cheeses, semi-mature and mature too, though, for me, not with blue cheese. 12€ (50cl bottle).

An excellent visit and my first foray into the world of Orange Wines – I’ll be back!

Contact Colin: ; Twitter @colinonwine

Facebook Colin Harkness & read his blog