Ostatu Rioja Rose 2016
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Always a delight to drink, especially if you’re visiting the winery in Samaniego, this cuvée
of Tempranillo, Garnacha and a splash of Viura comes from the high part of the village. It’s
tangy and crunchy, with redcurrant and raspberry fruit and refreshing acidity. 2018-19. Alcohol: 13%
Bodegas Ostatu is a family winery located in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa region in the town of Samaniego. The Saenz de Samaniego family has been in the area for many generations. The winery dates back over two hundred and fifty years. The vineyards, which are protected by the Sierra de Cantabria range, are composed of chalk and clay and the average age of the vines is 50 years. The estate is comprised of over forty hectares of vines located in and around the town of Samaniego. The poor soils and the unique location at the foot of this mountain range together create a special microclimate that is very favorable to the Tempranillo grape. Until recently all the wine was made in the carbonic maceration process and intended for early consumption. This philosophy changed when Hubert de Bouard de Laforest of Chateau Angelus saw the vineyard sites of the family and expressed an interest in collaborating on a special project. He realized that the age of the vines, combined with the unique orientation of the vineyards, could produce drastically different wines that could compete on the world stage. By changing from carbonic maceration to traditional fermentation and by reducing yields in the vineyards, Ostatu became able to produce wines that live up to their full potential. Iñigo Saenz de Samaniego, the youngest of six brothers and sisters, is now at the helm of the winemaking. Building on the innovations of the joint project with the French, Iñigo is continuing to seek elegance through the modernization of the family’s wines.
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.
Whether it’s playful and fun or savory and serious, most rosé today is not your grandmother’s White Zinfandel, though that category remains strong. Pink wine has recently become quite trendy, and this time around it’s commonly quite dry. Since the pigment in red wines comes from keeping fermenting juice in contact with the grape skins for an extended period, it follows that a pink wine can be made using just a brief period of skin contact—usually just a couple of days. The resulting color depends on grape variety and winemaking style, ranging from pale salmon to deep magenta.