Hola a tod@s!
On this blog I’ll be looking at one of my favourite Riojas. Once again the guys that make this vino are amigos of ours; it’s hard having friends making such wonderful vinos!
Lealtanza Reserva 2008 13.5% vol 100% Tempranillo
The name Lealtanza means loyalty in old Spanish as the makers are loyal to the traditions of Rioja. Made in Fuenmayor , Rioja Alta, where the undulating terrain is perfect for growing grapes, with good ‘run off’ after rainfall meaning the roots of the vines run deep into the clay based soil, which is high in chalk & iron imparting deep characteristics of the ‘terroir’ into their vinos.
The finest Tempranillo grapes are harvested in late September/early October at their full ripeness. After selection, maceration and fermentation the vino is placed into huge, 25,000 litre, vats of French oak for ‘malolactic fermentation’ which smooth’s and settles the vino before aging. Bodegas Muga in neighbouring Haro also use this technique.
Lealtanza used to use about 10% American oak but switched to 100% French oak aging in 2008. The vino is aged for 18 months in oak of 1 to 2 years old then a further 3 months in barrels made from oak from the forests of Allier (the finest French oak with a tighter grain, imparting a more gradual integration of flavours).
Then comes 18 months of bottle aging in their temperature controlled cellars before coming to market.
Clean, glossy colour of intense red garnet and an elegant complex nose of black fruits, coffee and cacao. On the palate it’s silky and fleshy, a superb modern Rioja, intense and well balanced that will gain complexity with time.
Drinking well now but will keep improving for a further 5-7 years. As you would imagine it goes well with roast meats, especially lamb, I love it with my old Dad’s stews and ripe cheeses.