Altanza Lealtanza Crianza 2004
Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Style: Medium Bodied Rioja Red.
Bouquet: Attractive notes of fresh black fruits with mineral notes and well integrated oak.
Flavor:Smooth, rich, silky tannins with well integrated fine oak. The firm tannins fade into a long, spicy finish.
Ageing: 12 months in French and American oak casks and 12 months in the bottle.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2004 Lealtanza Crianza was sourced from 30-year-old vines and aged for 12 months in French and American oak. Dark ruby-colored, it offers a complex bouquet of cedar, tobacco, blackberry, and black cherry. Smooth-textured, ripe, and sweetly-fruited, this nicely balanced wine has excellent depth and length. Drink it over the next 5-7 years. It is an excellent value in traditionally-styled Rioja."
Oscar Martinez is the third generation of well respected family of winemakers in Rioja. Altanza has 120 Has planted with Tempranillo around Fuenmayor, in the center of Rioja Alta.
Tempranillo is the only varietal planted in the Estate. Yields are low, green pruning and careful selection with no more than 8-10 bunches left in every plant combine to produce an average yield of only 3 lbs per plant, well below the the 6500 kg/Ha limit in Rioja. All grapes are handpicked in small cases and quickly taken to the winery.
Only native yeasts are used. Malolactic is done in large Allier oak vats, partiallyin oak for the wines up to Crianza and completely for the Reservas and Gran Reservas. Aging takes place in new or semi-new French (85%), American (10%) and Russian (5%) oak casks. The large Allier vats are also used to store the wine prior to bottling. The wine is only slightly filtered before being bottled, except the Lealtanza 2001 that sees no filtration. View all Altanza Wines
About RiojaView a map of Rioja wineries (ree-OH-hah) Spain makes some of the best Tempranillo-based wines in the world. Once the only DOCa (recently joined by Priorat in 2001), Rioja is divided into 3 sub-regions: Rioja Baja, Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa. There are 4 red varieties and 3 white varieties allowed in the Rioja DOC. Tempranillo definitely takes center stage, followed by Garnacha (Grenache)), which is sometimes added for body, then Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan). The region also makes roses. For whites, the main grape is Viura (or Macebo), producing fresh, early-drinking wines. Malvasia, the grape that was once the most planted white, is found less often.
Notable FactsThe Rioja wine trade is somewhat confusing. Grapes are typically brought to a merchant's bodega from one of the 20,000+ growers in the region, or via a cooperative. The wine is then bottled and labelled by that bodega. Rioja's Consejo Regulador keeps track of all vineyards and bodegas to make sure they are following the DOCa regulations. Put in place to ensure quality, the system also controls prices.
As with the rest of Spain, the wine label may state Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, depending on barrel & bottle maturation. Crianzas are usually found within two years of the vintage and offer fresh, ripe wines. Reserva and Gran Reserva will be found a few years after the vintage, as the bodega will be aging the wines in barrel and bottle before release. Both typically show more secondary characteristics of spice and oak ageing.
The most popular red varieties of Spain include Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache). Whites don't garner quite as much recognition, but there are some regional varieties not to be missed, like Albarino and Verdejo. The popular red regions of Spain include Rioja, known for its outstanding wines of the Tempranillo grape; Ribera del Duero, producing high quality reds from Tempranillo and Garnacha; Galacia, with the sub-region of Rias Baixas, home to the deliciously crisp and floral Albarino grape; and Priorat, a region increasing in popularity with its high-quality cult reds. Other regions of note are Rueda, growing the Verdejo grape, La Mancha, a wide desert region, covered in the most planted white variety in the world, Airen, and Jumilla, making wines based on Monastrell (Mourvedre).
Spain's wine laws are based on the Denominacion de Origen (DO) classification system, devised in the 1930's. A four tiered system, the most basic level is Vina de Mesa (table wine) followed by Vino de la Tierra (country wine), DO and at the top DOC. Currently, only Rioja and Priorat have DOC status, while over 65 DO's scatter the country.
Most DO regions are classified and regulated by how long they age the wines. On a red wine label, one may find the terms Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, denoting the wine's barrel and bottle time. Crianza is usually two years between barrel and bottle (the time in each depends on the DO and/or the winemaker), Reserva up to 4 years and Gran Reserva 5 – 6 years. Classifications of each region and wine are controlled by the region's Consejo Regulador.
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