New Parker points for Rioja wines: September 2016

The return of summer brings us some new Parker points for one of the most important Spanish regions: Rioja. A certificate of origin that is submerged in an internal debate about the direction it has to take for the future, between following traditional etiquettes and large scale production or betting for quality and for the land’s identity, giving the region an added value.
Luis Gutiérrez emphasises this aspect in his report and poses Artadi as an example, a winery that has chosen to leave the DOC to focus on the land’s identity, as an example of the current situation in Rioja.

Kupelak by Imamon (CC By 2.0).

Included in the Parker points for Rioja wines, the Marqués de Murrieta Ygay Blanco 1986 stands out with the first 100 points to have been awarded to a Spanish white wine, a wine with a classic style of production for Rioja white wine. It has been in American oak barrels since then and has been bottled this year.

Still within the Rioja elites are the single-estate wines by Telmo Rodríguez and his partner Pablo Eguskiza with 98 points for Las Beatas 2013, and 97 points for Artadi Viña el Pisón 2013. New and within this league, Álvaro Palacios has entered Quiñón de Valmira and has 96 points for its 2014 vintage, from a Garnacha Tinta vineyard planted on the slopes of the Yerga mountain, close to his home town of Alfaro, and for which we predict a great future as one of the best wines of La Rioja. We have the following vintage, 2015, at Decántalo, on sale en primeur. It is a promising vintage.

The classic wineries, which are loyal to the traditional production style, also have their niche in the outstanding DOC wines such as Muga Prado Enea 2010 with 96 points, Remelluri Granja Remelluri Gran Reserva 2010 with 95 points, La Rioja Alta’s 904 2007 with 95 points, Cune Imperial with 94 and Lopez de Heredia Viña Bosconia Reserva 2005 with 94 points.

The big names have also achieved important points, such as Benjamín Romeo with his Carmen Gran Reserva 2010 with 96+ points and La Nieta 2013 from Viñedos de Páganos, also with 96+ points.
Special mention goes to Abel Mendoza, the wine grower from San Vicente de la Sonsierra, who gains points year upon year thanks to his special dedication to the earth. The vineyard is in a better condition all the time, and the wine is introduced into barrels perfectly. He makes wines such as Graciano Grano a Grano 2013 which received 95 points. His wine produced by carbonic maceration, Abel Mendoza Jarrarte Maceración Carbónica 2015, received 90 Parker points and has a price of little more than 6€.

The new name to follow is Olivier Riviere, his single-estate wine Losares 2013 received 95 points and his other wines have exceeded 90 points. A great award for this Frenchman who has spent a lot of time establishing himself in La Rioja and knows the land perfectly. Other names to highlight are Oxer Bastegieta, whose works in old vineyards follow organic cultivation methods, and has been awarded 93 points for his Kalamity 2014 and 92 points for his white wine Iraun 2012. Roberto Olivan continues his great career producing wines that all exceed 90 points, such as Xérico 2015 with 91 points.

In summary, the points reflect Luis Gutiérrez’s feelings towards Rioja and the world of wine in general. Good wine is born in a good vineyard and from respectful production. The next Parker points will be from Cataluña, and we await them impatiently.

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