Rioja Uncorked: Viña Bosconia Red Reserva 2006

“If a vintner chooses not to filter, he limits himself to the minority of wine buyers, the true connoisseurs who care about quality and will accept some gunk at the bottom of the bottle.”~ Xun Wang

Today's review takes us to the picturesque Iberian peninsula, time to uncork another fabulous bottle of wine from R. López de Heredia. A gorgeous bodega located in the northwestern extension of the Rioja region in Barrio de la Estación, in the town of Haro, in the sub-zone of Rioja Alta. Which sits on the south bank of the Ebro River and is associated with some of the most exceptional wines of Rioja as well as some of its most venerated bodegas (wineries), many dating back a couple centuries.

The wines of  R. López de Heredia offer a striking difference to a majority of domestic wines on the retail market, as their wines are aged considerably longer than what is legally required and far longer than most of their counterparts in the region. Their wines are only sold when the head winemaker finds them to be drinking perfectly, which is why their 2006 which you see in today's review is considered a 'new' release. Another distinction if their traditional and primary use of American oak versus the majority of other Rioja producers who are switching to smaller French barrels (barriques). 

For those of you not familiar with the Rioja region of Spain, it's a place guarded by mountains on all three sides, the area itself takes its ancestral name from a tributary of the Ebro, called the Rio Oja. For readers who fancy themselves as history buffs; it's interesting to note, that there has been vineyard activity in this region since the times of Roman occupation, even then, people knew this area was fantastic for growing grapes. Talk about the sustainability of a grape-growing region, huh?

But it was during the French Phylloxera (vine-destroying insects) crisis that many grape growers and winemakers from France settled in northern Spain and brought with them many of the similar winemaking practices we see in France today, barrel aging techniques, viticulture practices etc..

Here come's the tasting notes: At first glance, a nearly opaque ripe-plum colored core; with my fat half-Irish nose into the glass to get the first whiff, bright and intense aromas of sweet, ripe, dark-plum and black currants are married with notes of licorice, mocha and fresh Cubans in a cedar box.

On the palate, a beautiful marriage of new and old world styles which artfully meld the dark and red fruit flavors, a gentle slap of well-integrated spicy oak all over my palate, finishing in a significant and silky expression of minerality, tar, and a earthy elegance. The finish is lengthy but falls a bit short of expectations. A traditional blend of Tempranillo (80%), Garnacho (15%), Mazuelo and Graciano, the balance, all from their estate vineyards. I gave this wine a score of 91 points and a hearty buy recommendation.

If you'd like to grab a few bottles of this wine for your own cellar, I know the folks who can make that happen for you and at the right price. This wine is uber dry, decant, decant, for the best overall experience (one hour) and pair with food, this is not a solo drinking style of wine, that's going to wow you with hedonistic pleasures.

The hopeful takeaway from reviews like this; is to primarily is to encourage you to expand your own vinous horizons, and the Spanish wine scene is a great place to make that happen. There's a virtual cornucopia of wine from unexplored regions of the world and Spain has so much to offer; to even the garden variety vino-sapiens.

And no I'm not just talking about 'bulk' Rioja, which you may see at places like Trader Joe's and the like for example. Do yourself a favor, get yourself to a tasting or two, at your local wine-shop and frankly no grocery stores don't count. Speaking of tastings, I was at a Spanish portfolio tasting in Beverly Hills (not so long ago), wines from the Toro region were being poured, many which made my face melt off (to borrow an expression) because the juice being sampled was flat-out winetastic (a technical term). So until next time, remember compromise is for relationships, not wine, continue to sip long and prosper, cheers everyone!


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