Bodegas Fernando Remirez de Ganuza Rioja Reserva (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1996
Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
International Wine Cellar - "Bright medium ruby. Knockout nose combines wild blackberry, plum, leather, minerals, lead pencil, smoke and meat; vibrant and extraordinarily complex. Then amazingly concentrated and intense in the mouth; not especially fleshy today owing to its brisk acidity but has terrific underlying density, great flavor expression and verve, and impeccable balance. Intriguing notes of game and white pepper add complexity. Utterly vibrant, firmly tannic and extremely long and subtle on the aftertaste. A couple of earlier bottles of this wine showed slightly more roasted fruit character (and merited scores in the 92 to 94 range), but this sample was without question one of the greatest bottles of new-wave Rioja I've tasted to date: true to its Rioja roots but with the density and verve to stand up to, if not surpass, the richest wines from Ribera del Duero."
The Wine Advocate - "The 1996 Reserva was also the product of a challenging vintage, "? an average year for less meticulous producers." It is a fragrant, fruit-driven wine that has ample savory fruit and a forward personality."
Bodegas Fernando Remirez de Ganuza Winery
This Fernando Remirez de Ganuza's almost 60 hectares of parcels that have been acquiring are distributed in four localities of Alava Rioja: Samaniego, Leza, Elciego, and Laguardia.
In Remirez de Ganuza, one works with fifty hectares of tempranillo (90%) and graciano (10%) located in privileged enclaves of the Alava vineyard.
The deciding factors to obtain a great wine are: the habitat, the microclimate, the direction of the parcels, the low productivity of the stocks and teh age of the vineyard.
The winery is located in the same center of the beautiful town of Samaniego. The splendid big rambling house includes an apple of buildings and is equipped with modern reinforced concrete structures covered with stone of ashlar masonry of between about two or three hundred years of antiquity.
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 & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.