Brett happens

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New-wave Rioja?

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Rioja 2015, Tempranillo, Bodegas Moraza ($18.35, 12473825)
100% Tempranillo from organically farmed vines in three parcels with chalky-claey soil around the village of San Vicente de la Sonsierra, Rioja Alta. In a quest for freshness and lower-than-usual alcohol levels, the grapes are picked (by hand) earlier than at most other estates in the region. Undergoes partial carbonic maceration. Fermented in concrete tanks. Reducing sugar: 1.3 g/l. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Boires.
Spiced plum and black raspberry, turned earth, old wood, some leather in the background. On the fuller side of medium-bodied. The spicy ripe fruit seems sweet on entry, an impression that quickly fades, leaving a bone-dry mid-palate. Prominent mineral and faint lactic notes add interest, sleek acidity keeps things fresh. The tannins are stealthy, most apparent on the long finish, which is marked by a light but pervasive astringency, a note pitched between dried tree leaves and dried herbs and a lingering black pepper bite. While there’s not a lot of depth (maybe it’s a young-vine cuvée?), this is a high-quality, complex and savoury sub-$20 wine, albeit one that virtually demands food. Smooths and coheres after an hour’s breathing, so carafing isn’t a bad idea. (Buy again? Yes.)

I’d seen this recent arrival on the monopoly’s shelves but my interest wasn’t really piqued until I read Karyne Duplessis Piché’s profile of the estate in Friday’s La Presse and the companion piece about the attempts of a handful of iconoclast producers to open the Rioja appellation to a more terroir-driven approach.

Written by carswell

January 22, 2017 at 12:41

2 Responses

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  1. Thanks for this. Having missed the La Presse piece, I wouldn’t have noticed the wine, or if I had, likely wouldn’t have bought it ($18 Rioja). But it’s very quaffable and at under at $20, an easy choice.


    January 29, 2017 at 22:11

    • Thanks for the feedback, andrewm. Glad you tried it and doubly glad you agree. Am a little sad it didn’t make it into the affordable bottles tasting — I suspect it would have been popular — but at least it didn’t pass completely under our radar.


      January 30, 2017 at 09:04

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