Tasting of wines by Luis Alegre

Some days ago, we met Alex Simó, from the winery Luis Alegre, and tasted his wines in Carlos Abellán’s Restaurant, Bravo 24, together with the restaurant’s sommelier, Sergi Figueras (Spain’s best sommelier 2012) and Antonio Lopo, sommelier at the restaurant Comerç 24. We were invited by our friends from Septiembre Vinícola.

We made a tour through all their wines, starting with a magnificent aged white wine and then with six red wines: from Koden, which goes through a crio-maceration process, to the great Pontac de Portiles, from which only four barrels are produced.

Luis Alegre

This Rioja winery‘s offer is honest and simple, but at the same time, technically studied. It was with great enthusiasm that Alex explained the secret of his wines to us. His philosophy is based in two simple pillars: winegrowing and wood.

Did you know that in Spain only 10% of the wineries have their own vineyards? Who has the vines has the power, and that is why all of Alex’s Rioja wines are produced out of his 50 ha of vineyards. That is how quality can be controlled all the process long.

The tasting started with Finca La Reñana Blanco de Guarda, a wine from which only 35 barrels per year are produced. It is 100% Viura, which guaranties a good ageing. It is aged in soft wood barrels from the forest of Tronçais. It stays on its lies for six months. The result is a very elegant wine with a low acidity. Best white wine from Rioja according to Parker.

Next, we tried Koden. Alex defined it as a technical but not romantic wine. It is a very fruity wine, which seems the result of a carbonic maceration. But it is not.

After trying the winery’s Crianza wine, we concentrated on Parcela Número 5, one of the most successful of this tasting. The vines from which it is obtained are located in the Natural Park of Las Lagunas de Laguardia (the same area in which wines such as Artadi Viña el Pisón are produced). The result is a Rioja wine in the style of Priorat. It is highly mineral, very fresh and has a certain touch which provides it with its own personality. It was really welcome.

We continued the session tasting the Selección Especial, a wine from which Alex is especially proud since it is obtained from a vineyard with very hard conditions. It is a classic Rioja, whose silkiness and roundness were totally opposed to the vineyard’s characteristics. There were plenty of different opinions.

Finally, we tried Pontac wines, which are called after Arnaud de Pontac, who revolutionized winegrowing in the 17th century by implementing low-yield pruning and by using new barrels in the ageing of wines. Pontac proved to be a wine with a very balanced combination of powerness and elegance. It shows noticeable but very elegant tannins. Alex explained that he was inspired by the wines from Roda.

We closed the session by tasting Pontac de Portiles, a wine of grapes from the same property as Pontac, but aged in Ermitage and Radoux barrels. It is a very long wine, more silky than Pontac and with very elegant tannins. If it was left in the barrels for some years, a great classic Rioja would be obtained, but the market imposes other rules.

A lot was said on the market, on trends and on the current experts’ ratings, but these are matters for another post.

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