La Antigua Clasico Gran Reserva
Like the other wines in the La Antigua Clasico line, the Rioja Gran Reserva is a history project, intended to evoke and showcase the blending philosophy that was the soul of Rioja in the early part of the 20th century, emphasizing freshness, elegance, and ageability in the final product. This is a collaboration between Michael Quinlan, Patrick Mata and Alberto Orte, lovers of classic Rioja. To quote Michael Quinlan – “few wines in the world provide so much pleasure and complexity as a perfectly aged Gran Reserva.” The northern facing vineyards of Sierra de la Demanda experience cooler temperatures, resulting in grapes that ripen more slowly, hence showcasing flavors of greater balance and focus. In addition to the cooler conditions of this area, La Antigua is a place where the parcels are extremely small and steep. This terrain is almost impossible to mechanize, and all important vineyard work needs to be done by hand. With this old vine blend, sourced from the highest altitude vineyard in the appellation, we see the marvelous potential for aging that is brought by old vine Garnacha and Graciano.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? A classic style Rioja produced from high elevation vineyards located in the Sierra de la Demanda area of the Rioja appellation. Old vines of Garnacha planted since 1940. Vines are tended in mineral soils of red silica, which are very unique and rare in Rioja.
GRAPE: 70% Garnacha, 27% Tempranillo, 3% Graciano, with an average vine age of 75 years. Tended in red silica soil at 700m (2296 ft) elevation.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: This Gran Reserva pairs well with rich braises and roasts, particularly beef, lamb and game.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: 72 months in 95% French and 5% American oak barrels, followed by 24 months in bottle prior to release.
PRODUCTION: 600 cs (6 pk)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: Average vine age of 75 years. Tended in sandy, limestone soil and red silica at 700 m (2,296 ft) elevation, north facing slopes on the south banks of the Ebro River in Rioja Alta. The average temperature during the April to October growing season is 22C (71.6F). Annual rainfall: 210 mm (8.3 in).
TASTING NOTES: Bright ruby-garnet. On the nose, powerful, dark and brooding, with swirling aromas of fresh and dried red cherry, fresh blackberry, black pepper, umami, soy, dried purple flowers, spicebox and leather. On the palate, surprisingly, even shockingly fresh acidity, with red and blue fruit framed beautifully by cedar, white pepper, and a touch of coffee. Beautifully balanced and plush textured, with impressive persistence and concentration. An elegant, classic Rioja.