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.
“This mixes delicious violets and lavender with dark plums and treacle tart. Medium-bodied and very fresh with tangy acidity and spicy undertones. Tightly wound on the finish. Drink now.”
91 points, JamesSuckling.com, July 2019