The wines of Altos de Rioja are produced in an area with a privileged microclimate for growing grapes. Vineyards are perched in the highest part of the appellation, between 600 and 700 metres above sea level. It’s a well-rated subzone of the Rioja Alavesa, on the slopes of the mountain range. Those mountains form a natural barrier against the winds and stormy fronts that blow in from the Cantabrian Sea to the north. Weather is characterized by dry summers where the swing in temperature from warm days to cool nights can be as great as 20°C. This microclimate sustains optimum ripening and tannin maturation, which in turn produces well-structured wines with deep colour suitable for prolonged ageing.
This Crianza is composed entirely of Tempranillo from 20 to 40-year-old vines grown in the high-altitude villages of Laguardia, Elvillar, and Cripan. After careful selection, hand-harvested grapes were destemmed, crushed, and cold-macerated for four days. The wine macerated for another ten days following fermentation, completed malolactic fermentation in stainless steel, then aged in three to five-year-old French and American oak for 12 months. The wine rested in bottle for six months prior to release.
Deep cherry in colour with a beautiful purple-toned edge, the nose is powerful and complex, with fresh fruit aromas balanced by well-integrated toasted oak. Fresh fruit flavours come to the fore again on the round, full-bodied palate: red berries and cherry with spicy herbs and a touch of tannin.
“Once we shifted into the Crianza category – where wines must spend a minimum of one year in oak – we awarded our first Master. […] This wine, from relatively new winery Altos de Rioja, must be one of the best-value reds on the market today, whatever the country or region. Sourced from 40-year-old Tempranillo vines, it is concentrated, ripe and creamy, but also dry and balanced, and is a wonderfully harmonious red in a relatively rich style by Rioja standards.”
97 points + Rioja Master, Drinks Business, Dec 2018
“Excellent brightness of fruit with cherries and blackcurrants; violet fragrance with black graphite spice. A wine with great energy and persistence.”
92 points + Gold Medal, International Wine Competition, 2018
“Subtle aromas of coffee, dark berry and mahogany follow through to a medium-bodied palate with fine tannins and a delicious finish. Fun to drink now.”
91 points, JamesSuckling.com, Aug 2018