February 2015 Selection

A question of label, back label... or of wine?

February 2015 Selection

Bozeto de Exopto 2013 (2 bottles)
Corriente 2012 (2 bottles)
Lur 2009 (2 bottles)

Normal retail price: £56.50
Club Discount Price: £48.37
You save: £8.13 (14.39%)

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About this selection...

Wine back labels certify compliance with certain regulations and offer us guarantees of quality and origin, but they don't always indicate what the wine is like, nor is this their function. In the case of generic back labels, however, where only the vintage year is shown, that is to say, when whether it is a Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva is not specified (for the denominations that use them, but not all do), there still exists a good deal of confusion amongst consumers, who believe that, since the ageing period is not stated, it can only be a young wine. That's not true.

With this subject in mind, wines that aren't young but have generic back labels, we have made our three choices for you this month. The three are from La Rioja, where the tradition of producing wines in the categories mentioned above is more deeply-rooted and where the mistake can more frequently be made. Two of them have been aged in barrels or other wooden containers for a short period, less than a year, and the third for fourteen months with two further years in bottle, which would correspond to a Reserva, but the winery prefers to label it generically. They are Bozeto 2013, a little gem from Bodegas Exopto, a very juicy and complete wine with the classic Rioja coupage; Corriente 2012, from the Telmo Rodríguez Wine Company, who present us with their version of the traditional everyday wine, an honest wine made purely and simply but full of flavour; and Lur 2009, a serious wine, very much a Rioja and a Tempranillo, if you’ll pardon such simple expressions. As you can see and will verify, wines closely linked to the Rioja tradition, to their land and origins, only that they don’t fall into any official category regarding their ageing: the main point here is the wine itself.

So excuses have been made. Three wines, three styles, each one with its own label... and the same generic back label. Are they alike? Not at all. May you enjoy them!

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Bozeto de Exopto 2013 (2 bottles)

Young red Crianza. Bodegas Exopto Rioja, Spain Grenache, Tempranillo, Graciano

Bottle: £4.96 club members / £5.74 non-members

With the usual classic Rioja coupage of Garnacha, Tempranillo and a little Graciano, Bodegas Exopto offers us this little gem. A very fruit-forward and expressive wine, well-balanced and very easily drinkable. What wisdom those vine growers of years gone by were blessed with, when they chose that combination of grapes; it produces wines with so much freshness and juiciness!

Bozeto is a grand little wine, rounded and complete, full of fruit and very well-defined by its terroir, by the land; the earthy notes, of iron and graphite, are very evident. Keep the wine on the palate and after swallowing it, close your eyes and try to imagine the taste of a hearty lentil stew, as this will give you a really clear picture of the particular character we're trying to describe to you. This is a wine that smells and tastes of earth and fruit, honest, expressive, juicy... very complete.

In the glass its colour is intense and of good depth; the concentration of fruit is visible at first sight: glyceric, dense...; you can tell that the grapes were of fine quality. On the nose, woodland and spicy aromas stand out, primarily of black pepper, which remind us too of Rhône Valley Syrahs. Lots of red and black fruit, blueberries, cherries, blackcurrants..., well-ripened soft but bold fruit, shrouded by delightful traces of dried aromatic herbs (bay leaf), very-well integrated ageing notes, cedar, breadcrumbs... and that ever-persistent, deep-rooted undertone of earth. On the palate as well, where everything is felt with a touch more intensity.

Pleasant, juicy, with structure and body... We ought to set you the challenge of finding the odd defect, but you should be prepared for finishing the bottle before coming across one. Although because of its price, you could carry on trying with the next bottle. We shall drink away to your good health, thank you, Tom!

Tapas / barbecues / lentils with chorizo sausage / potatoes with chorizo / rice dishes / oven-cooked meats / pasta

  • Alcohol content: 13,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2018.

Bozeto de Exopto 2013
Front and back

Corriente 2012 (2 bottles)

Red Crianza. Compañía de Vinos de Telmo Rodríguez Rioja, Spain Tempranillo, Grenache, Graciano

Bottle: £7.39 club members / £8.39 non-members

The Telmo Rodríguez Wine Company is renowned for making wines solely from native varieties, for reclaiming forgotten vineyards (such as its projects in Málaga and Cebreros) and for championing tradition, the heritage of the past, coming up with delightful, easy-drinking wines, with the large majority very reasonably priced. It offers us Corriente as its version of a traditional everyday wine, upholding the claim that wine is an everyday food and showing support for locally-grown wine.

In character, Corriente is a little rustic, but expressive and good quality, well-made. It's a Picota cherry colour, with a slightly earthy hue on the rim, surely due to the Garnacha; three of the native Rioja varieties partake in its making: Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano, sourced from Lanciego vine growers, and used casks and barrels made of both American and French oak participate in its ageing.

Soon after opening, some vegetal notes are apparent, which quickly blend in, and without being very intense, it reveals great fruit (red), yet given a boost by some very refreshing notes of black pepper and laurel, dusty hints, the odd sweet touch of black liquorice and an undertone of really smooth creamy coffee; a dash of alcohol comes over at first, which endorses its rusticity. Best open it an hour beforehand, uncork and leave it on the table, while you prepare the meal, and you'll find that it settles down.

It's fresh on the palate, fairly dry but juicy too, light-bodied, pleasant and easy to drink, with an extremely subtle bitter undertone that lengthens its persistence, without being troublesome. Another honest wine always to have at hand; and if you haven't finished it by the end of lunch or dinner, put the same cork back in, keep it in a cool place and you'll find you can enjoy it the next day, as it's a quality wine and has good acidity.

Tapas / daytime conversation / meat rice dishes / barbecues / peppered steak

  • Alcohol content: 14,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 17ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2018.

Corriente 2012
Front and back

Lur 2009 (2 bottles)

Red Reserva. El Conjuro del Ciego Rioja, Spain Tempranillo

Bottle: £11.84 club members / £14.13 non-members

Lur is the first and only wine of El Conjuro del Ciego, a new winery located in Elciego's centuries-old wine-making district, where the owners have restored and modernised some ancient caves hewn into the rock, and equipped the new installations with contemporary gravity-flow systems for production purposes. The fruit emanates from 4.5 ha of vineyards, on the El Conjuro and Coxera (Rioja Alavesa) estates, with the vines over 80 years old and grown in bush formation, solely of the Tempranillo variety.

This fusion of antiquity and modernity can be savoured too in the wine. Conceived as a Reserva wine, made without haste, it initially reminds us of a classic, traditional Rioja, due to its freshness and elegance, due to the ripeness of those red-fruit berries and smoky undertones, with a touch of saltiness even; it reminds us of a 'fine wine' because of the ease with which it can be drunk, yet it is definitely not a classic, but rather a good present-day Rioja, with the profile of a modern wine, controlled, without an excessive amount of concentration, a good Tempranillo from the Rioja Alavesa, fruity and intense, mineral and balsamic.

If we observe it in the glass, its Picota cherry colour is bright, but brick-red hues are already showing up on the rim; of medium intensity. On the nose, it offers a plentiful array of fruit sensations, essentially red fruit (raspberries) but also black (blackberries), fruits in liqueur and fresh fruit; as well as earthy notes, black liquorice, touches of dampness (leather), dry wafts (bay leaves), balsamic hints (eucalyptus)...; its complexity is quite remarkable and it's very well-balanced overall, and most especially, very fresh. The same sensations picked up by the nose are repeated on the palate, where it proves lovely and rounded, medium-bodied yet juicy and with silky tannins. It's a pleasure to hold it on the tongue, savouring it, forthright and persistent. Open the bottle an hour beforehand to let it breathe, and it will reveal all its merits for your imbibing pleasure.

A serious wine, undoubtedly with the character of a Rioja, obviously a Tempranillo, deeply rooted in the land which confers its identity, Lur, meaning 'Land' in Basque. A terroir wine, a wine very much from its own land.

NOTE: Over time natural sediment may appear, in which case decanting would be advisable. This sediment will not affect the wine's quality.

Rice dishes / cured cheeses / meat casseroles / fish / any type of meat / game dishes / to enjoy on its own / lamb / stewed meats with mushrooms

  • Wine Tasting Notes:
    • Colour
      Picota cherry red / intense / brick-red rim
    • Bouquet
      Higly aromatic / profound / fruit aromas / crystallised fruit / ready to eat fruit / blackberries / raspberry / liquorice / bay / cedar wood / eucalyptus / spicy notes
    • Palate
      Balanced / flavoursome / long / voluminous / medium-bodied / sweet tannins / pleasant finish / aromatic
  • Alcohol content: 14,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC
  • For drinking this year.

Lur 2009
Front and back

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