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Orben Rioja 2013

Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    14% ABV
    • RP90
    • WS94
    • WW92
    • RP90
    • W&S90
    • RP90
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    14% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Intense garnet red in color. Very interesting on the nose, with wild fruit, balsamic aromas, toasty oak and toffee. Full-bodied, the wine is balanced and open. It has complexity and a persistent and aromatic aftertaste.

    A blend of Tempranillo with a small amount of Graciano.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Orben
    Orben, Rioja, Spain
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    Orben was founded in the mid-1990s by the Anton family of Artevino fame (Izadi, Vetus, Villacreces) and a group of restaurateur-investors. Located near the village of Laguardia the estate farms 79 small vineyard plots all planted between 1945 and 1954. Due to the proximity and relative homogeneity of these sites located at 550–675 meters above sea level and on calcareous clay-limestone soils, the Anton family made the decision to create a separate estate to promote this individual terroir.

    The main variety is Tempranillo with a small amount of Graciano. All the vines are head pruned and are farmed sustainably. At harvest the grapes are picked by hand and transported to the winery in small boxes, once there they are destemmed, crushed and fermented in stainless steel tanks. Aging takes place entirely in French oak barrels for between 12 and 15 months. In addition to the estate wine, that simply goes by the name Orben and which is a blend of Tempranillo with a small amount of Graciano, the estate produces Malpuesto from a single vineyard plot of ancient Tempranillo. This site gets its name from the haphazardly way the vines were planted. Most would replace this inefficient site but the Anton family, aware of the quality of the terroir have chosen to preserve and promote it.

    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 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 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 around six months to one year in oak, and Gran Reserva at least two (plus three years in bottle), 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.

    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.

    SWS470805_2013 Item# 213368