Don Sancho Londono Cortijo Tinto 2009
Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Cortijo Tinto shows terrific array of cherry and black raspberry aromas with earth notes before a surprisingly rich, full wine with loads of savory fruit and a long, pure finish.
The fresh, pure character of this wine makes this an extremely versatile wine to pair with food. Without the rotund weight of oak aging, this wine pairs well with white meats like pork and chicken and flaky fish like hake, cod or flounder. This has the fruit and acidity to match with red meats, as well.
International Wine Cellar - "Bright red fruits and flowers on the nose, along with deeper notes of black tea and licorice. Silky in texture, with good mineral spine to the spicy red- and blackcurrant flavors. A bitter cherry note comes up with air and carries through the spicy, gripping finish. Most Spanish wines at this price are all about exuberant fruit but not this one; in fact, it's rare to find this sort of texture and structure for under $20. "
Don Sancho Londono Winery
Cortijo Tinto is a bright, fresh red wine produced by David Sampedro in the Rioja DOCa. Rioja is Spain’s most prestigious region and for younger or neophyte wine drinkers who want to learn more about this magical, storybook wine region, its grapes and its wines, there’s no better an introduction than Cortijo Tinto. Cortijo means ‘cottage’ or ‘shack,’ a reference by the emerging young winemaker David Sampedro that his shack makes better wine than most high-flown Chateaux in Rioja. David improves the quality of his wines by doing better work in his vineyards, the place where the grapes come from. David says, "If you want to make better wine, harvest better grapes." Rather than build a chateau or a beautiful tasting room, he’d rather pay to take care of the only meaningful ingredient, the grapes. Beginning with the 2009 vintage, Cortijo is made with estate grapes. The goal is to show a naked, unadorned expression of Tempranillo and Garnacha from Rioja Alta with no interference of oak. Cortijo is a sort of “non-profit organization” for David as opposed to most of his other wines, which are super-premium cuvées that collectors kill for. Cortijo is David's way of introducing people to great wine from Rioja at a value price. View all Don Sancho Londono 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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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.
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