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Altanza Lealtanza Crianza 2006

Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
  • RP89
13.5% ABV
  • RP90
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5.0 1 Ratings
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5.0 1 Ratings
13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Aspect:Intense and very clean garnet red.

Nose: Complex and elegant blend of fruits of the variety and its ageing in quality French oak. Not fully evolved; lively, clean and pleasant.

Mouth: Powerful and meaty. Intense, pleasant taste. Firm, well-structured acidity.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 89
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Bodegas Altanza's 2006 Lealtanza Crianza is 100% Tempranillo fermented with native yeasts (as are each of these wines) and aged for 12 months in French and American oak. Dark ruby-colored, it displays an enticing nose of cedar, spice box, tobacco, leather, and blackberry. Smooth-textured and elegant on the palate, it has ample savory fruit, good volume, and enough ripe tannin to evolve for 1-2 years. This lengthy effort will offer prime drinking from 2012 to 2018.
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Altanza

Altanza

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Altanza, Rioja, Spain
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.

Highly regarded for distinctive and age-worthy red wines, Rioja is Spain’s most celebrated wine region and also home to whites of equivalent quality but lesser renown. Made up of three different sub-regions of varying elevation—Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja—wines are typically a blend of fruit from all three, although single-zone wines are beginning to gain in popularity. Rioja Alta, at the highest elevation, is considered to be the source of the brightest, most elegant fruit, while grapes from the warmer and drier Rioja Baja produce wines with deep color and high alcohol which mainly serve to add body to a blend. While fresh and fruity Riojas labeled “Joven” undergo minimal aging before release, a hallmark of more serious Rioja wines is the aroma and flavor of new oak—traditionally American, which imparts characteristics of dill, coconut, vanilla, and spice to the wine. Tighter-grained, subtler French oak, however, is becoming increasingly common. Crianza and Reserva styles are aged at least one year in oak, and Gran Reserva at least two, but in practice this maturation period is often quite a bit longer—up to about fifteen years.

Tempranillo provides the backbone of Rioja red wines, providing complex notes of red and black fruit, leather, and tobacco, while Garnacha supplies body and alcohol. In smaller percentages, Graciano and Mazuelo often serve as “seasoning” with additional flavors and aromas. These same varieties are responsible for flavorful dry rosés. White wines are made mostly from crisp, fresh Viura, which is usually blended with aromatic Malvasia and weighty Garnacha Blanca. White Rioja has traditionally been made in a nutty, oxidative style, though a bright, unoaked version is currently in vogue.

Tempranillo

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Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins, modest alcohol, and bright acidity, Tempranillo is the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions. It is important throughout Spain as well as in Portugal, where it is known as Tinta Roriz and is an important component of Port wines and the table wines of the Douro region that Port calls home. California, Washington, and Oregon have all had moderate success with Tempranillo, producing a riper, more fruit-forward style of wine.

In the Glass

Tempranillo is often aged in new oak for the integration of spicy, woodsy, and herbal flavors, often with hints of vanilla, coconut, and dill. The grape itself produces medium-weight reds with bright red and black fruit aromas and hints of spice, leather, and tobacco, with no shortage of flavor.

Perfect Pairings

Tempranillo’s modest, fine-grained tannins and bright acidity make it extremely food friendly, pairing with a wide variety of Spanish-inspired dishes—especially grilled lamb chops, a rich chorizo and bean stew, or paella.

Sommelier Secret

The Spanish take their oak aging requirements very seriously, especially in Rioja. There, a system is in place to indicate on the label how much time the wine has spent in both barrel and bottle before release, which is helpful to the consumer trying to determine the style of an unfamiliar wine. Rioja can range from Joven (fresh, fruity, and unoaked) to Gran Reserva (complex and oxidized from extended barrel aging), with Crianza and Reserva in between.

EPC16820_2006 Item# 105182