Torre de Ona by La Rioja Alta Finca San Martin Crianza 2009
Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Dark cherry red with pink hints on the rim, medium to high robe. Fruity and fresh, it shows good aromatic intensity, with notes of wild fruits on a balsamic background of cedar and tobacco. Balanced on the palate, easy and pleasant to drink, its ripened tannins are nicely integrated which lead to an ample round finish.
Wine Spectator - "There's good density to the ripe flavors in this supple, velvety red, offering black cherry, kirsch, cola, leaf and licorice notes over light, firm tannins that give this the structure to match with food. Drink now through 2017."
International Wine Cellar - "Full ruby color. Cherry and dark berries on the nose and palate, abetted by cracked pepper and rose. Juicy and broad, with solid finishing punch and slow-building, harmonious tannins that provide gentle grip."
Torre de Ona by La Rioja Alta Winery
Torre de Ona was forged in 1995, when La Rioja Alta, S.A. led this exciting project with the aim of making an excellent quality wine incorporating all the personality of the best vine plots in the prestigious Rioja Alavesa area. A unique location that they were convinced provided clear potential for making a great modern wine, capable of transmitting – as with the great "chateaux" – the exclusive characteristics of a privileged estate.
Since then, and always focused on the continual improvement in the wine, Torre de Ona has made important changes to the vineyards and winery. But it has been in recent years, more specifically since 2005, that they started to pay very special attention to the different plots that make up the estate, and the separate production and maturing of each sub-plot, evaluating the soil and determining where the best quality grapes grow, only then collecting harvests that meet the quality standards for an important international wine. This is how they made the Torre de Ona, Finca San Martín and Club de Cosecheros (Harvester's Club) wines.
They have taken a big step forward. But they will not rest there. They constantly strive for excellence and are convinced that for the Torre de Ona winery, the best has yet to come. View all Torre de Ona by La Rioja Alta Wines
About Rioja(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.