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Bodegas Franco-Espanolas Rioja Bordon Crianza 2011

Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    Winemaker Notes

    Crimson red with ruby hues, this wine displays soft aromas of toasted oak and vanilla. Structured and smooth, it showcases a savory maturity and elegant tannins. There is great balance between fruits and spice in its long and elegant finish.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Bodegas Franco-Espanolas

    Bodegas Franco-Espanolas

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    Bodegas Franco-Espanolas, Rioja, Spain
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    Bodegas Franco-Espanolas is an incredibly beautiful winery, dating back to the 1890s, in the heart of Logroño, Rioja's largest city. The winery has been wonderfully and thoughtfully restored. The winemaker, Carlos Estecha, who has been making the wines for 24 years -- and who also serves as the winemaker for Franco-Española's sister winery, Federico Paternina -- is an accomplished artist as well as a winemaker, and a fascinating person to listen to. And the wines are exceptional -- from the good quality, fresh young wines, to the Reservas and Gran Reservas, to the aged examples (especially an outstanding old white Gran Reserva, one of the best wines I've tasted this year). In short, this is a producer deserving of much greater attention!

    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.

    CGM29433_2011 Item# 145373