BLACK GRAPE VARIETIES FOR RED RIOJA
If you visit http://haciendagrimon.es/ 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.
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