Telmo Rodriguez Bodegas Lanzaga Tabuerniga 2015
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Distinctive peppery aromas with spicy, wild bramble berries, violets and wild red fruit. The palate holds fine-grained tannins and delivers a taut, linear and unwavering texture. Succulent, refined and regal. Pure red-cherry finish. Superb. Faultless. Tempranillo with graciano. Try from 2021.
I'm blown away by the quality of the 2015 Tabuerniga, one of three new single-vineyard bottlings from Rioja introduced in the 2014 vintage. For some reason, I didn't taste this wine when I tasted the 2015 Las Beatas last year, and it was released some time ago (I'm also tasting the 2016, which should be the current release now). But I wanted to taste it now, and I found it extremely good, almost as good as Las Beatas, and an absolute must, especially at the price it sells for. I know I'm going to regret it, because, as it has happened with wines like Las Beatas and Les Vignes de Mon Père (from Ganevat), my score and write up is going to make it harder for me to find the wine in the future. But I just cannot recommend it hard enough for our readers. And the thing is, the 2016 I tasted next to it is even better!
Telmo Rodriguez is one of Spain’s pioneer winemakers, advocating native grape varietals tied to the climates and conditions of their sites, and making world-class wines from undiscovered as well as known regions. Perhaps most impressive, while Telmo Rodriguez makes rare and limited wines of astonishing character and quality, his everyday wines have been equally praised, and widely recognized for the tremendous value they offer.
Telmo studied viticulture and oenology at the University of Bordeaux and was the winemaker at his family winery in Rioja, Remelluri, and then set off on his own in the early 1990s to discover new vineyards and regions all around Spain. He now makes a range of wines in diverse viticultural areas of Spain, with an emphasis on the following: vineyards biodynamically farmed, vines are exclusively bush-trained the traditional Spanish method, replanting only with varietals traditional to their regions.
Telmo was among the first to make significant wines in Toro, Rueda, Valdeorras, Malaga, Alicante and Cigales. In these areas he uses native varietals, often grapes rediscovered such as Godello, Verdejo, Moscatel and Monastrell which do not have wide recognition. With other classically recognized varietals such Tempranillo, Garnacha and Carignan, he works with vines that are indigenous and reflect the character of their particular site. As a result, Telmo has been one of the leaders of the quality revolution with these varietals in up and coming areas such as Toro, as well as in the traditional areas of Rioja and Ribera del Duero.
Hailed as the star red variety in Spain’s most celebrated wine region, Tempranillo from Rioja, or simply labeled, “Rioja,” produces elegant wines with complex notes of red and black fruit, crushed rock, leather, toast and tobacco, whose best examples are fully capable of decades of improvement in the cellar.
Rioja wines are typically a blend of fruit from its three sub-regions: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental, although specific sub-region (zonas), village (municipios) and vineyard (viñedo singular) wines can now be labeled. Rioja Alta and Alavesa, at the highest elevations, are 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, great body and richness.