Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dinner and the wines of Bodegas RODA #DWCC13

At the conclusion of the winery tour, we were shepherded upstairs to a fabulous dining room for our dinner and tasting (One of my impressions so far is that Bodegas RODA does it "right" or they do not do it at all.). RODA had brought in VentaMoncalvillo, a La Rioja restaurant of some repute, to prepare and serve us dinner that evening, a dinner which would be supported with selected RODA wines. The wines were introduced by Augustín, and following his insights, we would then proceed to tasting the wine. As the evening wore on, the timing between the introduction of the wine and the serving of a course unravelled but no one was complaining. We were having a good time. The wines which were tasted at this sit-down session follow.

SELA 2010: A blend of 95% Tempranillo and Graciano from bush vines that were between 15 and 30 years old at harvest. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in large French oak vats over a 19-day period. Aged for 12 months in 50% new French oak barrels. Fruity with short finish. Easy-drinking wine.

CORIMBO 2010: Made with Tinta del Pais (Tempranillo) grapes sourced from 20-year-old vines grown in the Pago de La Horra and Roa vineyards in Ribera del Duero. Fermented for 20 days in large oak vats and stainless steel tanks and then aged for 12 months in French (80%) and American oak barrels. Black and red fruits on the nose and palate. Spicy. Grippy tannins. Structured. Unbalanced.

RODA Reserva 2008: A blend of 90% Tempranillo, 4% Garnacha, and 6% Graciano sourced from Haro and neighboring vines greater than 30 years old and yielding, on average, 1.5 kg/vine. Fermented in temperature-controlled French oak vats then aged for 16 months in 50% new and second use French oak barriques and 30 months in bottle prior to market release.

According to Augustín, this was a difficult vintage in Rioja -- an Atlantic vintage -- with a dry winter and cold spring and summer. Harvest was late. According to Augustin, you can easily find the Atlantic influence on this wine in the mouth and nose. Red fruit on nose, raspberries on the palate. Medium body with softly integrated tannins. Fresh. Spicy. Lack of complexity.

RODA I Reserva 2007: Tempranillo sourced from 30+ year-old-bush vines yielding 1.5 kg/vine. Fermented in temperature-controlled French oak vats then aged for 16 months in 50% new and second use French oak barriques and 20 months in bottle prior to market release.

In 2008 it was rainy until the summer, causing spring to lose its vigor. Known as the "mildew year" in Rioja because of the rain. It rained very little in the summer. The vintage was not well regarded in Rioja but it was great for them. It was an Atlantic vintage but less so than 2008. Ripe red fruit, coffee, and cocoa on the nose. Sweet red fruit, black fruit, and mineral note on palate. Silky tannins.

RODA I Reserva 2004: Garrigue, wet leaves, forest floor, coffee, baking spices, and black pepper on the nose. On the palate sweet red fruit, fruit rollups, spice. Smooth tannins. Oak not as well integrated as was the case for the preceding wines. Muted acidity. Drying finish.

RODA I Reserva 2005: Red fruit, sweet tobacco, vanilla, cinnamon, and red pepper on nose. Somewhat uni-dimensional. The 2004 and 2005 were both good wines but I preferred the 2004.

CORIMBO I 2009: First vintage of this wine. They have attempted to apply their Rioja knowledge towards making wine in Ribera del Duero. This wine is representative of Ribera but has the elegance of Priorat. According to Augustín, Rioja and Ribera are the greatest regions in Spain for growing Tempranillo but, given Ribera'a location on the Grande Meseta, the vines have 1 month less to reach maturity than vines in Rioja. Ribera wines are known for length, depth, and structure but RODA wanted to supplement that with an elegance note in their wines. Looking for that elegance took them to a small part of the region called La Horra. They felt that this amazing part of Ribera could provide that elegance they were looking for so they found a family with vineyards, but no winery, gave them 10% of the venture, and signed them to an 80-year contract.

Identify the wine based on vintage descriptions: At this point Augustín produced two wines that were not on the original menu and asked us to select between the two based on his description of the vintages. The wines were the 1994 and 1995 RODA Reservas. According to Augustín, 1994 was  a dry year and the vineyards had to go through a lot of suffering. It was an austere vintage. Nineteen ninety-five, on the other hand, was an excellent vintage: rain when needed, sun when needed. The wines were more expressive from the beginning. Both wines were phenomenal and the team split almost evenly in its choices. This was a lot of fun.

CIRSION 2010: Grapes for this 100% Tempranillo are hand-selected (on the basis of RODA research) from different parcels of old vines. Alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled oak vats and malolactic in French oak barriques. Matured in 100% new French oak barrels for 8 months followed by an additional 4 months in bottle prior to release. Black and red fruits on nose along with a smokiness and baking spices. Black fruit, cocoa on palate. Persistence and length of finish.

This concluded the tasting and dinner. Everyone was in extremely high spirits and sated both in terms of wine and food. Augustín brought out the Chef so that he could be recognized for the fine fare and service of his staff.

This was an evening that I will always associate with my initial visit to Haro.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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