La Antigua Clasico Crianza
La Antigua is a unique wine coming from one of the most special and unknown territories of the Rioja region. Geographically speaking, Rioja is a valley that goes from East to West. The vineyards of La Antigua are located in Rioja Alta, with the mountains of Sierra Cantabria to the north and the mountains of Sierra de la Demanda to the south. The northern facing vineyards 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. The majority of the people who own these vineyards are local farmers who do not make wine, they only grow grapes, which in exchange they sell at top prices to larger bodegas mostly located in the north of the valley near the train tracks. In the case of La Antigua, both vineyards and winemaking are handled by the same people. This unity of farming and winemaking is a key factor in fashioning superior wines. Lastly, and most importantly, in Sierra de la Demanda we find some of the oldest Garnacha vines of Rioja. La Antigua Clasico Crianza is a wine of place. It is 100% from Sierra de la Demanda, a place of longevity, precision and minerality.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? Sierra de la Demanda is a unique location with north facing vineyards located in Rioja Alta. Estate bottled. A wine of place. old vines, vineyards were planted in 1940 to 1955.
RATING HISTORY: 2012 92JS; 2011 91JS; 2010 91IWC
GRAPE: 70% Tempranillo, 20% Graciano, 10% Garnacha. Vines planted from 1940 to 1955. Tended in limestone and sandy soil at 568 m (1,865 ft) elevation.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: 24 months in stainless steel tanks plus 24 months in 60% French and 40% American oak barrels
PRODUCTION: 3,000 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: Sustainably grown vines planted from 1940 to 1955. Tended in sandy and limestone soil at 568 m (1,865ft) elevation.
TASTING NOTES: Brilliant ruby. Lively aromas of fresh, spice-tinged red and dark berries and candied flowers are complemented by suggestions of vanilla and woodsmoke. Juicy and energetic on the palate, offering appealingly sweet black raspberry and rose pastille flavors that deepen slowly as the wine opens up. Gentle, slow-building tannins shape a smooth, persistent finish that strongly echoes the floral note. -- Josh Raynolds.