Finca Allende 2003
Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
The opaque purple-hued 2003 Allende (100% unfiltered Tempranillo) exhibits a chunky, muscular, straightforward style with good depth and chewiness. Drink it over the next 4-5 years.- Wine Advocate
The Wine Advocate - "The 2003 Allende was perhaps the most surprising vintage of the vertical and has aged with style. It has a very floral bouquet with cassis, raspberry and strawberry shortcake on the nose, hints of vanilla from the oak lying underneath. The palate is well-balanced with ripe, sappy tannins and lovely pure black cherry and balsamic tinged fruit towards the composed, yet powerful finish. This is a great success given the challenges of the season. Drink now-2020."
Finca Allende Winery
Records from 1672 prove that the De Gregorio family has been involved in viticulture and winemaking for several centuries. In fact, Nicholas De Gregorio was for almost 40 years the vineyard manager for the oldest winery in Rioja, Marques de Murrieta. He is a zealous defender of the traditional Rioja grape varieties such as Graciano and Malvasia. Miguel Angel De Gregorio graduated from the University of Madrid with degrees in Agricultural Engineering and Enology. He has proven in his short career as winemaker to several other wineries to be an innovator in Rioja. Vineyards are located in Briones, Rioja Alta, on the right bank of Ebro River. Grapes are sourced on the family's estate of 60 acres (25 ha) in Briones. Vineyards are situated on both slopes on the hill. Some vineyards face north/northeast, others face south/southeast. The grapes are multi-clonal selections of old Tempranillo which produce smaller berries and yields. The vineyards are 1,440-1,680 feet in elevation(480 to 560 m). The soil has a top layer of calcareous clay over gravel which dates from the quaternary period, located on the 2nd and 3rd terraces of the Ebro River. The climate is typical of Rioja Alta, continental with Atlantic influences. Rains are normally in the winter and spring, with the prevailing winds from the north/northeast. Therefore, this creates two distinct microclimates for the vineyards because of their different exposures. View all Finca Allende 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.