FIRST PUBLISHED IN COSTA NEWS GROUP, MARCH 2011

BODEGAS RODA, DO LA RIOJA

FOR SUPERB WINES AND EXCELLENT OLIVE OIL!

It seems my recent article about ‘Corimbo’, a new wine from Ribera del Duero, made under the auspices of the famous La Rioja winery, Bodegas Roda, hit the right note with the eponymous bodega! I recently received samples of their two mid-range Rioja wines, the much lauded Roda and Roda 1. Furthermore samples of their award winning Extra Virgin Olive Oils also arrived, gastro-heaven!

 In many ways the wines and oils are happy bedfellows. Making top level olive oil as well as stunning wine is really a natural progression. The olive tree and the vine have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship over millennia and the produce from each can justifiably claim to be two of the finer gastronomic delights of Spain.

 Aubocassa and Dauro Extra Virgin Olive Oils have been recognised since their inception as being in the vanguard of fine oil production. The former is from Mallorca where it has been given Denominación de Origen recognition and in fact was voted the best oil in Spain in 2009/10.

 Dauro is a Gran Pagos D’Olivar oil from Empordá (itself a fine wine producing area) which is awaiting the granting of DO status. Both oils are from olives harvested in November 2010 and both are unfiltered leaving a faintly cloudy element to the bright golden colours of each, the one with a touch of dark lime green running through it too.

 The oils speak of the terroir from whence they came. Green, autumnal vegetal notes abound in each, the Dauro incredibly smooth; the Aubocassa the same but with a super peppery finish. You can just catch the flavour of blanched almonds with faint herby notes – marjoram, thyme and rosemary, with the faintest whiff of wild fennel too!

 It was the philosophy of Roda founders, Mario Rotllant and Carmen Daurella (the first two letters of each surname together spell Roda!), to make quality wine that owes all to the grapes, the terroir and indeed the variance in climate each year.

 Roda Reserva 2006 has a red foil, deliberately chosen to denote that this wine is made from those vines whose grapes display red fruit characteristics. It isn’t just rich, it’s opulent – the heady aromas escape from the bottle when the cork is pulled. Cherry and loganberry are the soft fruits that immediately come to mind, but there is also, for me, a touch of bramble fruit all underpinned with seductive and subtle French oak. A wonderful, sensuous, full and yet delicate red wine – check it out for next Valentine’s Day!

 Roda 1 Reserva 2006 has a black foil – yes, you guessed it, it’s a dark fruit cocktail this time – blackberry again, but with blackcurrant and I think a wisp of damson, a tantalising apparition in the background. 100% Tempranillo (Roda has 3% Graciano added) from old vines, selected, I presume, from the higher vineyards which would account for the acid lift that this wine has along with maturing tannins.

 This is a wine that will add immeasurable depth to your fine dining – it’s elegant and yet powerful; graceful and yet racy. It’s dark and rich; earthy and with a noticeable minerality, plus it has time on its side too – perhaps five to eight years, maybe a touch longer, but you won’t be able to wait that long!

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