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Finca La Emperatriz Parcela 2011

Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
  • WS93
  • WE92
  • RP91
14.8% ABV
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14.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Very dense dark red, with a black centre. Outstandingly intense aromas, with great complexity, ranging from ripe plums to silex, from licorice to forest floor. Great weight on the palate, with velvety, polished tannins. Very long, with the fruity aromas coming to the forefront again, together with the aromas of cigar box.

Blend: 100% Tempranillo

Critical Acclaim

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WS 93
Wine Spectator
This muscular red has a thick texture, with firm tannins, showing more structure than flavor for now. The balanced core of currant, licorice, espresso and mineral opens into floral and spicy notes on the finish. Delivers power with grace, in the modern style. Best from 2017 through 2027.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
This small-production Rioja (under 200 cases) is focused, minerally and lightly charred up front, with blackberry, cassis and vanilla aromas. A flush, bright not-too-heavy palate offers lively black cherry and blackberry flavors accented by creamy vanilla and char. A medium-long, elegant finish with healthy acidity indicates that this will age nicely through about 2023.
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
I found riper aromas in the nose of the 2011 Finca la Emperatriz Parcela No. 1 than in the Crianza. With notes of dark plums, Morello cherries and hints of decayed violets, this pure Tempranillo from a specific plot (plot No. 1, hence the name) aged in new French oak barrels for 14 months after fermenting in oak vats. Perhaps it's framed by the wood, but it's not as lively as its Crianza sibling. The palate is medium to full-bodied, with abundant tannins and a slightly drying finish that makes me think that it would benefit from more time in bottle.
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Finca La Emperatriz

Finca La Emperatriz

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Finca La Emperatriz, Rioja, Spain
La Emperatriz is a winery located in the DOC Rioja denomination, more precisely in the very north-west, in the Rioja Alta region. The special climate of the region is defined by its geography and is perfect for high quality viticulture in the vineyard's stony terroir. This particular combination of soil and climate produces elegant and complex wines with a very specific character.

The project is today managed by brothers Eduardo and Victor Hernáiz, although the origins of the estate go way back to the 19th century. At that time, under the ownership of Eugenia de Montijo, the Empress of France, the estate was already producing excellent wines.

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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 Riojas 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.

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Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins and a bright acidity, Tempranillo is the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions and important throughout most of Spain. Depending on location, it takes on a few synonyms; in Penedès, it is known as Ull de Llebre and in Valdepeñas, goes by Cencibel. Furthermore in Portugal, known as Tinta Roriz, it is a key component both in Port and the dry red wines of the Douro. The New World regions of California, Washington and Oregon have all had success with Tempranillo, producing a ripe, amicable and fruit-dominant style of red.

In the Glass

Tempranillo produces medium-weight reds with strawberry and black fruit characteristics and depending on yield, growing conditions and winemaking, can produce hints of spice, toast, leather, tobacco, herb or vanilla.

Perfect Pairings

Tempranillo’s modest, fine-grained tannins and good acidity make it extremely food friendly. Pair these 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 naming system is in place to indicate how much time the wine has spent in both barrel and bottle before release. Rioja labeled Joven (a fresh and fruity style) spends a year or less in oak, whereas Gran Reserva (complex and age-worthy) must be matured for a minimum of two years in oak and three years in bottle before release. Requirements on Crianza and Reserva fall somewhere in between.

HNYFLEPRL11C_2011 Item# 147772