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Rioja + Reserva
Year 13, No. 12
Hello and welcome back from summer holidays!
I know, I know, my American readers will be grumbling about how Europeans take the entire month of August off.
While myths are always amusing to keep going, the sweaty truth is that most people only take off at most two weeks (except for the exceedingly-lazy Cul de Cuvée (*) staff.) But given that they’ll take them at either the beginning or end of the month, it ultimately makes for an overall black hole of productivity for the entire month.
You know who didn’t get August off? Winemakers!
Everything is GO GO GO around here, especially in terms of the harvest which has seen the whites arrive long ago and a great many of the reds have already come in. Some producers are even saying they’ve fully finished with everything. As mentioned a few weeks back, this is just a one-way ticket to Crazy Town.
After a brief pause on regular articles we’re back up and running with the full Rioja Regional Report and Tasting Report available for paid subscribers. Lots of analysis in there about vintage and current trends, but especially taking a deeper look at the category of “Reserva” and what that even means anymore.
While not publishing regularly, we made use of that bit of downtime to improve upon a number of website functions, especially the wine search which has been massively enhanced for paid subscribers in terms of features. This couldn’t have come at a better moment as I’ve largely caught up on the backlog of tasting notes so that the database now has over 8,100 wines scored and rated.
With 60% of these reviews for Spanish wines, this makes it one of the most extensive online references for wines of the country.
Drink well, be well.
(*) Free to read
The Featured Report
While the debate over whether it’s Rioja or Sherry that’s the oldest Denomination of Origin in Spain will never be settled, one thing is for sure, Rioja is the most well known out of all the wine regions. Here I take an annual look at the state of the wines, the vintages, and what the classifications for aging mean at this point.
The Featured Book Review
“Eastern Promise” (*)
A very solid addition to the Felix Hart series (or Extended Hart Universe) that should be on anyone’s reading and/or gift list this year.
And Now This
Ever think about drinking a wine “Sans Culotte”? Well, if you can find it, then you very much should.
Perhaps you’re in the mood for a little hit of Bordeaux? In that case, have a look at these wines from Château d’Arche in Sauternes.
There’s a peculiar little documentary called, “Un vin dans les voiles” (*) that might very well appeal to folks who like curious things in the world of wine.
The Featured Wine
While the current report is for Rioja, I should say that I’m often asked for recommendations for wines in Ribera del Duero which goes to show how solid their marketing folks are.
As I was cleaning up tasting notes, I'm came across a review of the Pago de los Capellanes - Crianza 2017 which offers up all kinds of Ribera-y goodness at a price that most people can swallow in the low 20€ range in Spain and low 30€ abroad. If however you’re feeling just the slightest bit more flush, I’d definitely recommend a splurge for the Reserva and the 2016 vintage if you can find it.