July / August 2014: International Wine Review

Bodegas Altanza 2013 Blanco Rioja 88+ The 2013 Blanco is a blend of 55% Viura and 45% Sauvignon Blanc. It is very fresh and fruit with perfumed aromas of grapefruit, minerals and spice. It is crisp on the palate with excellent acidity and good extract on the finish.

Bodegas Altanza 2008 Lealtanza Reserva Club Rioja ($70) 91 The 2008 Lealtanza Reserva Club displays a lovely opaque red color and aromas of fresh dark cherry, toasted oak, and a hint of mint on the nose. On the palate it reveals bold dark red fruit, dark chocolate. rich, coconut-chocolate notes from the oak. Aged 18 months in French oak, it is nicely structured with a feminine texture and good tannic grip on the finish.

Bodegas Altanza 2010 Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($44) 91 The 2010 Reserva Seleccion Especial reveals aromas of dark red cherry with notes of cacao and wood spice. Fresh on the attack and concentrated on the palate showing good dark red cherry, mocha, and a hint of underbrush. fine ripe tannins. Easy to drink and deli- cious.

Bodegas Altanza 2008 Lealtanza Reserva Selecciónde la Familia ($50) 91 The Reserva Selección de la Familia offers a bouquet of earth and spice box complemented by dark red cherry notes. This is a nicely concentrated wine, with a lot of well integrated oak, and still dry tannins. It’s silky smooth on the attack.

Bodegas Altanza 2008 Gran Reserva Rioja ($50) 91+ The 2008 Gran Reserva displays an opaque ruby colors and aromas of . mint and clove on the nose with notes of spice box, violets, dark red fruit. Aged 24 months in oak, it is big and soft on the attack and silky on the palate with lots of, dark red and black fruit, chocolate and toasted oak, and firm tannins with a rich long finish.

Bodegas Altanza 2008 Reserva Artistas Españoles ($100) 94 The Flagship of the winery, this 2008 Reserva Spanish Artist Collection is crafted from a selec- tion of the estate’s oldest vines and best fruit with extraor- dinary low yields of below 2 tons/ha. It offers aromas of black cherry, earth and mushroom, and is firmly structured with lots of oak on the palate and fine fruit overtones. Aged for 18 months in new French oak, it shows firm dry tannins at present but is still very young and will benefit from more time in the bottle.

LeAltanza 2008 Reserva Artistas Chinos Rioja ($100) 92 Fresh plum and dark red fruit define the character of this medium-weight wine. Aged for 18 months in new French oak, It is rich and full flavored and is nicely balanced on the palate with a soft texture and excellent concentration. Importer: The Artisan Collection, New York, NY

Bodegas Baigorri With 272 ha of estate vines in Rioja Alavesa, Baigorri makes a wide range of wines from the traditional Alavesa carbonic-macerated Tempranillo Tinto to the very rich, ripe and extracted Baigorri de Garaje. Its vines are old and sustainably farmed, while the grapes are hand harvested and carefully sorted. Developed by Jesús Baigorri and currently owned by businessman Pedro Martínez, the winery is perhaps best known for it modern, gravity flow winery. Designed by the architect Iñaki Aspiazu and located on the heavily traveled route between Logroño and Laguardia, the seven story, modern glass cube building is a popular tourist attraction in the Rioja Alavesa. Lead winemaker is Simone Arina Robles uses the latest technology, including small conical fermentation tanks of stainless steel. Annual production is about 600 thousand bottles. The wines are distinctly modern in character with lavish use of new French oak.

Bodegas Baigorri 2012 Cask Fermented White Wine Rioja ($40) 91 Yellow gold. Fresh and saline in character, this Baigorri Viura shows notes of lightly toasted almonds and honeyed stone fruit. It’s well balanced with good acidity and viscosity. Savory and delicious. A blend of bar-rel fermented Viura (95%) and Malvasia (5%).

Bodegas Baigorri 2007 Baigorri de Garage Rioja ($95) 92 Madein small lots, this “garage” wine is rich, dense and modern with a strong influence from 22 months in new French oak. It shows ripe dark red plum, tobacco spice, chocolate and coconut shavings, and herbs. The palate is smooth, fresh, and shows good depth, finishing with gritty tannins. We expected more flavor integration with several years in bottle. 100% Tempranillo.

Bodegas Baigorri 2007 Crianza Rioja ($30) 90 The 2007 Crianza displays a minty herbal nose with nice freshness on the palate. It reveals a silky mouth feel with good integrated fruit and oak flavors, and good extract on the finish.

Bodegas Baigorri 2010 Garnacha Rioja 90 The Garnacha follows in the modern Baigorri style with ripe, lush dark red fruit lavishly wrapped in heavily toasted oak. The result is rich flavor and a lush mouth feel with prominent coconut and chocolate notes that mask the Garnacha. Not a subtle wine but one that many will like.

Bodegas Baigorri 2006 Reserva Rioja ($48) 90 The quintessential Rioja Reserva showing a lot of toasted oak and dark cherry fruit complemented by notes of saddle leather, baking spices, and tobacco leaf. But a bit weak on the mid-palate and firmly tannic and dry on the finish. Needs to be decanted and would benefit from additional aging. 100% Tempranillo aged 18 months in French oak. Importer: The Artisan Collection, New York, NY