La Antigua Clasico Reserva
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 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. 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 the vineyard work and winemaking is 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 Reserva 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? 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.
RATING HISTORY: 2010 91VM, 2010 92+View from the Cellar, 2010 91JS, 2008 94JS; 2006 91IWC
GRAPE: 60% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano. Vines planted from 1940 to 1955. Tended in red silica sandy soil at 700 m (2,296 ft) elevation
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: This wine pairs well with braised meats, roasted mushrooms, stewed beef, duck and game.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: 24 months in stainless steel tanks plus 72 months in 60% French and 40% American oak barrels
PRODUCTION: 2,000 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: Vines planted from 1940 to 1955. Tended in sandy, limestone soil and red silica at 700 m (2,296 ft) elevation. The average temperature during the April to October growing season is 22C (71.6F). Annual rainfall: 210 mm (8.3 in).
TASTING NOTES: Vivid ruby-red. Ripe red berries, violet and cracked pepper on the nose; a vanilla nuance emerges with aeration. Seamless in texture and appealingly sweet, offering pliant raspberry and cherry flavors and a hint of mocha. Closes smooth and fruity, with subtle tannins coming in late. -- Josh Raynolds