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The Society's Rioja Crianza 2017

Red Wine from Spain - Rioja
A smooth, fleshy and oaky Rioja, made in the traditional style from tempranillo aged in American oak. One of our most popular reds, and for good reason.
Price: £8.50 Bottle
Price: £102.00 Case of 12
In Stock
Code: SP16181

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Full-bodied
  • Tempranillo
  • 14% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2022
  • 75cl
  • Cork, diam

Rioja

Rioja sits shielded in northern Spain between the mountain ranges of the Sierra de Cantabria to the north and the Sierra de la Demanda to the south. Both of these rocky ranges play their part in creating a suitable climate for the production of fine wines, shielding the region from cold winds from the Atlantic and hot winds from the Mediterranean.

Rioja is split into three sub-regions, Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja.

Rioja Alavesa - Bounded in the north by the craggy Sierra de la Cantabria and in the south by the Ebro river, and sitting in the foothills of the former, Rioja Alavesa feels a distinct Atlantic influence on its weather, despite the protection of the mountains. It has twice the rainfall of Rioja Baja to the south-east and enjoys cooler temperatures on average. The classic Rioja mainstay tempranillo is king here and makes up more than 80% of plantings, supported by garnacha, mazuelo (aka carignan elsewhere) and graciano for red wines, and viura, malvasia and...

Rioja sits shielded in northern Spain between the mountain ranges of the Sierra de Cantabria to the north and the Sierra de la Demanda to the south. Both of these rocky ranges play their part in creating a suitable climate for the production of fine wines, shielding the region from cold winds from the Atlantic and hot winds from the Mediterranean.

Rioja is split into three sub-regions, Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja.

Rioja Alavesa - Bounded in the north by the craggy Sierra de la Cantabria and in the south by the Ebro river, and sitting in the foothills of the former, Rioja Alavesa feels a distinct Atlantic influence on its weather, despite the protection of the mountains. It has twice the rainfall of Rioja Baja to the south-east and enjoys cooler temperatures on average. The classic Rioja mainstay tempranillo is king here and makes up more than 80% of plantings, supported by garnacha, mazuelo (aka carignan elsewhere) and graciano for red wines, and viura, malvasia and garnacha blanca for whites. Chalk and clay soils proliferate. Generally, the wines of Rioja Alavesa are considered the most finely balanced of Rioja reds.

Rioja Alta - Elegant reds are considered the hallmark of Alta wines. A great chunk of the major producers are based in Rioja Alta, concentrated on the town of Haro. Warmer and a bit drier than Alavesa, it also enjoys slightly hotter, more Mediterranean influenced summers and has a range of clay based soils. The reddish, iron rich clays provide a nurturing home for tempranillo while those bearing a chalkier element support the white viura well. Alluvial soils closer to the river are often home to malvasia for blending in to whites. In this area mazuelo is a regular addition to Rioja blends, providing some tannic sinew and beefing up the colour, and the reds here will often take a more significant underpinning of oak.

Rioja Baja - Most of Rioja Baja is south of the Ebro and further south and east of its neighbouring sub-regions. Summers in Rioja Baja are more often than not very warm and dry, with vineyards at lower elevations than its neighbours. Consequently soils are predominantly silt and other alluvial deposits with little chalk present, and garnacha reigns supreme among the red varieties because of its ability to deal almost effortlessly with the heat. As a rule, reds from Baja are higher in alcohol and less elegant than in Alavesa and Alta, though of course there are always exceptions and particularly so as viticulture and winemaking improves with every passing year.

RIOJA CLASSIFICATIONS AND STYLES EXPLAINED

The official Rioja classification is a guarantee of the amount of ageing a wine has undergone. Usually the best wines receive the longest maturation but this does not guarantee quality, which is why it is just as important to follow producer.

Crianza: Minimum two years (with at least 12 months in barrel)
Reserva: Minimum three years (at least 12 months in barrel)
Gran Reserva: Minimum five years (at least 24 months in barrel)

What can be confusing is that producers use different ageing techniques (for example some might use American oak, others French, others a mix of both) which will influence the style, structure and flavour of the wine. To help you find the style you like we have split the wines into the following designations.

Traditional: Fragrant, silky wines from long ageing in cask (usually American oak) and bottle; ready to drink on release.

Modern-classical: Younger, rounder wines that retain the delicious character of Rioja through cask ageing (often a mix of American and French oak) with the structure to develop in bottle.

Modern: Richer, velvety wines aged for less time in newer (usually) French oak; released earlier and may need keeping.

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Bodegas Palacio

Bodegas Palacio is located in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa, at the bottom of the road leading up to Laguardia, a spectacular fortified hilltop village set against the backdrop of the Sierra Cantabria. The original stone-built bodega, now a small hotel, was first superseded by a rather four-square winery, but was replaced with a new, modern winery in 2014.

Palacio was founded in 1894 by Don Cosme de Palacio, an entrepreneur from Bilbao, one of the pioneers of winemaking in the region who made many positive changes, including the introduction of ageing in oak barrels. After a period under French ownership in the 1980s, during which Bordeaux guru Michel Rolland consulted here, Palacio was acquired in the 1990s by Hijos de Antonio Barcelo, one of Spain’s largest winemaking conglomerates, itself part of the giant Acciona group. Thanks to a high level of investment, Palacio has been able to expand, modernise and thrive.

This is an unusual enterprise in many respects. It buys in most of its fruit from a long-established network of contract growers, effectively controlling 255ha of vineyards, all in the Alavesa. It concentrates almost exclusively on tempranillo and viura, though in the new alta expresión white, Cosme 1894, there is a touch of malvasia. The winery has a 13,000 barrel capacity and exports a third of its production. A number of distinctly different bottlings reflect the bodega’s historical French bias, from the almost bordelais El Portico (named after the ornately...
Bodegas Palacio is located in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa, at the bottom of the road leading up to Laguardia, a spectacular fortified hilltop village set against the backdrop of the Sierra Cantabria. The original stone-built bodega, now a small hotel, was first superseded by a rather four-square winery, but was replaced with a new, modern winery in 2014.

Palacio was founded in 1894 by Don Cosme de Palacio, an entrepreneur from Bilbao, one of the pioneers of winemaking in the region who made many positive changes, including the introduction of ageing in oak barrels. After a period under French ownership in the 1980s, during which Bordeaux guru Michel Rolland consulted here, Palacio was acquired in the 1990s by Hijos de Antonio Barcelo, one of Spain’s largest winemaking conglomerates, itself part of the giant Acciona group. Thanks to a high level of investment, Palacio has been able to expand, modernise and thrive.

This is an unusual enterprise in many respects. It buys in most of its fruit from a long-established network of contract growers, effectively controlling 255ha of vineyards, all in the Alavesa. It concentrates almost exclusively on tempranillo and viura, though in the new alta expresión white, Cosme 1894, there is a touch of malvasia. The winery has a 13,000 barrel capacity and exports a third of its production. A number of distinctly different bottlings reflect the bodega’s historical French bias, from the almost bordelais El Portico (named after the ornately carved door of the church of San Bartolome in Logroño), to the high-definition prestige cuvée, Cosme de Palacio developed by Rolland.. More true to regional style is Glorioso, though its maturation – six months each in French and American oak – is hardly typical. This is an outfit which does its own thing, to be sure, and does it well, if the medal tally from international fairs and shows is anything to go by.

Bearing little resemblance to any of these in style – Glorioso is perhaps the closest – is The Socety’s Rioja , which is also made here., The head of winemaking, forty-something Roberto Rodriguez [Martinez] has worked here since the tender age of 18: his deep understanding both of his craft and of the plots at the bodega’s disposal enable him to preselect, in anticipation of the buyer’s final blend, a range of appropriate component wines that he knows will both appeal to members and maintain the consistency and quality of this best-seller.

A last word about Cosme Palacio 1894, Palacio’s newest prestige project, named in honour of Palacio’s founder and year of establishment, and developed with input from consultant winemaker Sam Harrop MW. The white is a remarkable viura-based blend, with a little malvasia and garnacha blanca, from very old, low-yielding vines grown at up to 800m, The red is 90% tempranillo with 10% graciano. The inaugural 2007 vintage was released in 2010 and has already won critical acclaim.
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2017 vintage reviews
2016 vintage reviews
2015 vintage reviews

Lynn News

This is a brilliant example of classic old-style Rioja. The nose is spiced brambles, cranberries and vanilla while the palate adds touches of citrus peel and spice. It's by far the best Rioja...
This is a brilliant example of classic old-style Rioja. The nose is spiced brambles, cranberries and vanilla while the palate adds touches of citrus peel and spice. It's by far the best Rioja I've seen for under a tenner, and have Muga Reserva 2016 a run for its money.
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- Giles Luckett

Sussex Express

A traditional style wine from the tempranillo grape, mellow, juicy andoaky. 

- Richard Esling

Sunday Express

Made by Bodegas Palacio, this has aromatic coconut, vanilla and berry fruit flavours with a sweet oak influence. It's a really gopod example of the Rioja style at a good price.

- Jamie Goode

Sunday Telegraph

Best spring wines for £10 and under: Made by Bodegas Palacio, with good Rioja genes, more on the fresh red fruit and spice than the autumn leaves and coconut end of things and with plenty of...
Best spring wines for £10 and under: Made by Bodegas Palacio, with good Rioja genes, more on the fresh red fruit and spice than the autumn leaves and coconut end of things and with plenty of concentration and chew.
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- Victoria Moore

Press & Journal

This is made for the Wine Society by Bodegas Palacio which is based in the lovely town of Laguardia in the Rioja Alavesa. Crianza indicates the wine has spent at least 12 months in barricas...
This is made for the Wine Society by Bodegas Palacio which is based in the lovely town of Laguardia in the Rioja Alavesa. Crianza indicates the wine has spent at least 12 months in barricas (225-litre oak barrels), then a further year in bottle before release. Totally tempranillo, this crianza spent time in American oak which comes across in the vanilla scents. It's a classic style with its raspberry, cedar, liquorice and blueberry aromas. Medium- to full-bodied, it is structured and savoury with raspberry and redcurrant and a freshness to the finish.
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- Carol Brown

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