2017 is a complex wine with lots of different nuances. It has a light golden yellow color. In the nose there is a good balance between fruit and oak, with white fruits, oak, vanilla and a honey finish. In the mouth it is velvety, unctuous, and elegant
with a deep density.
1808 started over 140 years ago in the cellar of Jenaro Fernández’s great-great grandfather, below the Medieval town of Laguardia. Located in the southern tip of Spanish Basque country in the Rioja Alavesa sub-region of DOC Rioja, Viticulture goes back to the 800’s in Rioja. After the DO legislative body was formed in Spain, Rioja was granted the first DOC in 1991. 1808 benefits from the unique microclimates that come from being under the shadows of the Cantabrian mountains to the north. 1808 keeps their production to 3,000 total cases, which allows them to focus on making sustainably produced Tempranillos using biodynamic and natural techniques (with a wonderful, oak-aged Viura as a bonus!). As Jenaro likes to say, “ These are wines with personality, with temper and, why not, with a little bit of craziness.”
Highly regarded for distinctive and age-worthy red wines, Rioja is Spain’s most celebrated wine region. Made up of three different sub-regions of varying elevation: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental. Wines are typically a blend of fruit from all three, although specific sub-region (zonas), village (municipios) and vineyard (viñedo singular) wines can now be labeled. 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 Oriental produce wines with deep color and higher alcohol, which can add great body and richness to a blend.
Fresh and fruity Rioja wines labeled, Joven, (meaning young) see minimal aging before release, but more serious Rioja wines undergo multiple years in oak. Crianza and Reserva styles are aged for 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, adding complex notes of red and black fruit, leather, toast and tobacco, while Garnacha supplies body. In smaller percentages, Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan) often serve as “seasoning” with additional flavors and aromas. These same varieties are responsible for flavorful dry rosés.
White wines, typically balancing freshness with complexity, are made mostly from crisp, fresh Viura. Some whites are blends of Viura with aromatic Malvasia, and then barrel fermented and aged to make a more ample, richer style of white.
Commonly found as a single varietal white or blended with Malavasia and Grenache Blanc, Viura is a vital, leading white grape of Rioja. It also thrives in the lower elevations of the Penedes, where it takes the name Macabeo and adds aromatic and fruity notes to the traditional Cava blend with Parellada and Xarel-lo. Somm Secret—Called Macabeu in France, this versatile grape is prevalent in Roussillon where it makes still, sparkling, dry and sweet wines.