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Breton Lorinon Crianza Rioja 1999

Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
  • W&S89
  • WS86
0% ABV
  • W&S88
  • WS87
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Winemaker Notes

Ripe and structured, 1999 produced wines of excellent quality for all aging levels, the Crianza among the most concentrated yet produced at Bretón. While a pleasure to drink over the coming months, this wine would well reward cellaring an extra case. 70% Tempranillo, 20% Mazuelo, 5% Graciano and 5% Garnacha, aged 15 months in American oak averaging 5 years old.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 89
Wine & Spirits
WS 86
Wine Spectator
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Breton

Bodegas Breton

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Bodegas Breton, Rioja, Spain
Bodegas Breton was founded in 1983, their state-of-the-art winemaking facility completed in 1985 just prior to that year's harvest. Although of relatively recent origin, Breton takes a decidedly traditional approach. The philosophical objective is preservation of the elegant, concentrated "Rioja Alta" style and the longevity for which traditional Riojas are famous. Modern tendencies result in Rioja wines of accelerated evolution (lower acidity) for earlier consumption.

The Breton partnership includes a 100-acre estate called Vina Lorinon just outside of Lorgrono along the south bank of the Ebro River, with 45 acres of mature vines. Breton properties also include the fabulous Dominio de Conte, a textbook 55acre vineyard on a protected horseshoe bend of the Ebro near Briones, in the very heart of Rioja Alta. Overall average vineyard age is 27 years - the highest of any major Rioja producer - grape varieties consisting mainly of Tempranillo, with Mazuelo, Graciano, Garnacha, Viura, and Malvasia. The Logrono and Briones vineyards together provide an ideal balance of ripe fruit and acidity.

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.

WWH363LTCB2_1999 Item# 54405