December 2014 Selection

Haro's Barrio de la Estación, Rioja's birthplace

December 2014 Selection

Honorable de Gómez Cruzado 2010 (2 bottles)
Roda 2009 (2 bottles)
Viña Bosconia Reserva 2004 (2 bottles)

Normal retail price: £112.60
Club Discount Price: £97.52
You save: £15.08 (13.39%)

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About this selection...

It's impossible to understand Rioja without getting to know some of the wines from the bodegas located in the legendary Barrio de la Estación. This district is home to some of the most emblematic brands in the history of Rioja, Spanish and also European wine, world-famous wines.

Rioja's wine history started here, beside the railway which at the end of the 19th Century enabled both the commercialisation of wine to Bordeaux, when the crisis triggered by the phylloxera disease had a profound effect on the neighbouring country's sector, and also the exchange of experiences and expertise, which helped to improve production and ageing methods, and served to deliver the definitive impulse to Rioja wine. Haro and the Barrio de la Estación constituted the birthplace of Rioja wine, although the greatness and diversity of its wines extend and proliferate throughout the length and breadth of this denomination, not unreasonably considered superior, hence officially Qualified.

There are numerous Riojas and many styles, but on this occasion we are focusing on wines from the Barrio de la Estación, the fine wines, which include not only the great classics but also the type of wine created with elegance in mind, where refinement is put above powerfulness. A style very much of its own, and original, from the Barrio de la Estación wineries.

We begin our selection for this month with a wine whose name will tell you a lot: Honorable 2010, from Gómez Cruzado, the Barrio's smallest winery and one of the oldest; the updating that is being carried out by the new management team is positioning their wines among the greatest. Regarding Roda 2009, from Bodegas Roda, avant-garde but without losing one iota of elegance, we predict it will be the perfect host on the table; Agustín Santolaya has set out his objective very clearly: wines should not be there to impress but to be enjoyed. Naturally, a selection of Haro wines, couldn't fail to include a wine from the inimitable and admirable López de Heredia: Viña Bosconia Reserva 2004, another veritable classic.

This Christmas we invite you to find Roda genuinely enjoyable, to surprise others and be surprised by Honorable from Gómez Cruzado, and to be thankful that, although the years may pass, there are some things and some wines, such as Viña Bosconia, which happily don't change. Merry Christmas!

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Honorable de Gómez Cruzado 2010 (2 bottles)

Red Reserva. Gómez Cruzado Rioja, Spain Tempranillo, Grenache, Graciano, Mazuelo, Viura

Bottle: £16.60 club members / £18.87 non-members

Gómez Cruzado was one of the first wineries to become established in Haro's emblematic Barrio de la Estación and tasting its legendary brand, Honorable, inspires a certain respect, as well as making us feel very honoured. It is also the smallest winery in this district so significant in European wine history, yet it is from this humility and considerable hard work that it successfully offers us a lovely collection of fresh and fruit-forward, subtle wines, with great balance and complexity, where every detail is important, from the soil and the grapes, to the bottle, the label... and the name: Honorable, such an appropriate name.

Honorable does its name justice. It's not the typical classic but neither is it a modern-style wine, despite being matured in new French oak barrels. It is only produced when the old vineyards have their best harvests and with the traditional Rioja mix: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo and Viura. It is a very good wine indeed, but it does require some patience at the moment, being still young; decant it for an hour or two, and it will offer you up all its charms. Or else keep it, if you prefer, as its excellent acidity will ensure a long life.

Appearing a colour of great depth, it is clean and bright, with spectacular tears. On the nose it is nice and refreshing; dark, serious, profound, elegant... intriguing! Enframed in the style of fine wines typical of this Rioja Alta region, it is fresh and easily drinkable, and stands out due to its fruitiness, its black fruit aromas (although red too), and its complexity and balance. The ageing notes are very well integrated and, with time in the glass, release whiffs of coffee that bring to mind those great Pauillac wines. Worth stressing, a very good wine.

On the palate it is juicy, intense, with a slightly earthy touch (somewhat dry at present for this same reason) which is quickly counterbalanced by sweetish undertones. The tannins are still present but they even out smoothly as it sits on the table and the minutes tick by; with a decanter and glass in our hands, we can harmoniously enjoy its great structure, its considerable volume and its splendid passage through the mouth. A really good wine, with excellent acidity, balsamic, a Rioja identity, a fine wine from the Barrio de la Estación... with character. You'll be surprised by it and you will certainly surprise others with it.

NOTE: Gómez Cruzado is a little-known winery due to its size, but since the new owners entrusted direction to David González and Juan Antonio Leza, two young winemakers with lengthy experience as consultants in wine-growing projects, its wines have been truly outstanding. The new team is doing an excellent job and Honorable is one of the wines which best proves this. As a good friend told us, this winery is a little hidden gem, and worth watching closely.

Entrecôte / barbecues / lamb

  • Alcohol content: 14,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2024.

Honorable de Gómez Cruzado 2010
Front and back

Roda 2009 (2 bottles)

Red Reserva. Bodegas Roda Rioja, Spain Tempranillo, Graciano

Bottle: £18.25 club members / £20.72 non-members

Agustín Santolaya, managing director of Bodegas Roda, always explains that Roda's objective is to make wines for enjoying at the table, wines which don't saturate the palate, wines made not to impress but to be liked and enjoyed glass by glass, wines to take delight in time and time again. Pour yourself out your first glass of Roda and you'll perfectly understand this philosophy: good, dark, deep —our first impression—; fruit-forward, mature, sweetish —the second. Conclusion: an expressive wine, rounded and extremely pleasant.

We might just limit our description to these few words, but if we were looking to fill out its letter of introduction, we could add that Roda is not only a good wine, a good buy, but also one of those wines to choose when you have guests for dinner but you don’t know their particular palates or experiences; this is a wine to please everyone (so too the range’s three main exponents: Sela, Roda and Roda I). It is a complete, smooth, fresh and, at the same time, warm wine; it will host the occasion perfectly.

Roda originates from the neighbourhood of the greatest Rioja classics; it is a Rioja Reserva, yet its production method differs from that of its neighbours, although it does correspond with them in elegance and easy-drinking style. The principal variety partaking in its coupage is the Tempranillo (89%) as well as small percentages of Garnacha (8%) and Graciano (3%). It ferments in French oak vats and ages in new French oak barrels, and these characteristics can naturally be appreciated in its appearance and taste. In the glass it appears an intense, lively colour, while on the nose it emanates warmth, ripe fruit, ripe cherries, but also black fruit notes; it is very fresh too, with scrubland notes which provide a lovely balsamic touch and a modicum of sweetness, ideal for accompanying pâtés and cooked dishes that include fruits, pears, raisins and plums.

On the palate it is balanced, structured, medium-bodied... and accessible, created not to impress but to please. Its style is quite modern and at the start it could just seem like "yet another", but its Rioja identity and its personality prevail, with a little patience, in the glass or after a longer stay on the wine-rack. In a blind tasting, it can still make us have our doubts, those coffee notes which always take us over to the Bordeaux region and Pauillac in particular, so closely and so historically linked to the wines of La Rioja and especially to the wines of the bodegas in the Barrio de la Estación; and its fruitiness, the ripeness of that red fruit, makes us compare it to a Toro wine. This is definitely, to sum up, a complex Rioja rich in nuances. It’s time to open our eyes and enjoy it, since it was indeed created for this purpose, a most pleasurable wine from start to finish. You'll pour yourself a second glass... and a third, then you'll see.

Red meats / barbecues / foie gras / duck a l'orange / chicken with raisins and plums / veal with mushrooms

  • Wine Tasting Notes:
    • Colour
      Picota cherry red / dark
    • Bouquet
      Fruit aromas / red fruit / sweet spices
    • Palate
      Fresh / silky / voluminous / fruit notes / red fruit / long
  • Alcohol content: 14,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2020.

Roda 2009
Front and back

Viña Bosconia Reserva 2004 (2 bottles)

Red Reserva. Bodegas R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Rioja, Spain Tempranillo, Grenache, Mazuelo, Graciano

Bottle: £13.91 club members / £16.70 non-members

It's quite likely that when you open your first bottle of Viña Bosconia, you will already be acquainted with the Viña Tondonia Reserva. We should point out that you won't find the same wine, but definitely the same elegance; and you will encounter another great fine wine. As Don Rafael, the winery's founder, described them a good many years ago, a fine wine is one of superior quality, easy to drink, a wine that has identity and is able to accompany local speciality dishes. So have slices of ham, roast lamb or potatoes with chorizo at the ready, and prepare to enjoy.

Viña Bosconia is more fruit-driven than Viña Tondonia, and has more depth and structure (also a spot of rather superior Tempranillo); it is warmer, less dry and more powerful; but equally elegant, another fine wine and, above all, another great classic.

In style, Viña Bosconia might appear less accessible to the average consumer, but once tried appreciation of it is immediate. Surprising but enchanting, it boasts a slightly sherry-scented nose in the foreground, and its complexity makes for a very evocative wine. Accompanying those sherry notes are wafts of gruyere-type cheese, of iodine and fir tree resin, refreshing damp notes, balsamic hints, and even floral and India ink whiffs. Viña Bosconia is also a feminine Rioja, essentially seductive, and one of those wines whose bottles are easily and pleasurably emptied.

On the palate it exhibits very intense acidity, typical of all the bodega's wines, plus good structure and body; but it is best defined by its honesty and elegance, thus a direct wine. Once again, in just a few words, a fine wine. Always have a Viña Bosconia to hand; you won't regret it.

Potatoes with chorizo / curry dishes / roast lamb / lamb with fine herbs / ham / rice with truffles / cooked sausages / chocolate

  • Alcohol content: 13,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 18ºC and 20ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2024.

Viña Bosconia Reserva 2004
Front and back

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