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Fully mature, elegant Rioja made very much in the traditional style. This is pale brick-red in appearance with wonderful aromas of spice and leather and a silky, soft texture.
Product Code: SP14191
View all products by Bodegas Urbina
The Urbina family have four generations under their helm as vineyard owners in Rioja. They own around 75 hectares, all in the heart of the renowned sub-region of Rioja Alta which is known to produce grapes with fine structure and elegance. The vineyards, mostly planted to tempranillo, are located around the village of Cuzcurrita which is at the north-west point of Rioja and therefore at the limit of vine production. Here the climate is influenced by the cooler Atlantic weather systems which results in a longer, more gradual ripening period and grapes that tend to show freshness, structure and intensity. The magic of this area is that it makes wines that are amongst some of the longest lived in Rioja.Everything about this bodega centres around ageing. After picking, the grapes are fermented slowly in stainless steel, then aged extensively in a mixture of American (75%) and French (25%) barrels. After ageing in oak, the wines are held in tank which retains a lift and freshness in the wines (rarely seen for this traditional style of Rioja). Pedro Benito Urbina makes a range of wines, mostly red, right across the quality spectrum from crianza to gran reserva. He releases his wines when they are ready to drink and fully mature. They represent the essence of classic Rioja: stylistically they rest their quality on finesse, complexity and savoury flavours, rather than power.
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.
A vintage of concentrated fruit after a lengthy spell of hot weather through the summer in both Rioja and Ribera del Duero led to a drought that lasted well into the following winter. The harvest was generally earlier than usual throughout the country, with raisining, even before full ripeness had occurred, happening in some parts. Where the Atlantic could exert its influence in the north-west (Rías Baixas, Mencia etc) there was excellent quality. In Rioja and Ribera del Duero it is an uneven vintage, though, as ever, the best producers will have bucked the difficulties and made wines with good concentration and balance. In Priorato, in Catalunya, it was also a torrid year and wines are concentrated, sometimes dense and lower in acidity than in cooler years and it is necessary to follow the best producers, as we do, to find balance and ageability.
"Straightforward, not unpleasant. Unexceptional. Less oak than anticipated. Would buy Navajas Crianza over this. "
"Thoroughly drinkable, and kinda 'above average' for a crianza. Still with a bite of dry tannin, plenty of tempranillo fruit, very light on the oak. I dont wish to damn it with faint praise because the bottle is only just opened - no doubt will improve over the next 24 hours."
I would recommend this wine
"Straightforward, not unpleasant. Unexceptional. Less oak than anticipated. Would buy Navajas Crianza over this. "
Henry's World of Booze 15th Mar 2020
"Check out the Urbina
range (crianza and gran reserva) if you like mature Rioja, the wines are
absurdly undervalued. - Henry Jeffreys"
Decanter 1st Feb 2020
"A classic style with
mellow red fruit, ripe figs and a supple velvety structure with good maturity. - Panel tasting"
"A hint of excellence lurking down in what is ultimately a thin and unsatisfactory offering the kind of which could be found for under a tenner in good London wineshop and occassionaly also in [elsewhere]. Sorry WS but, no."
Mr Boris Vemic (28-Oct-2018)
"Delicious and great value for money. Benefited a lot from the decanter. Smooth, good oak, but mouthwateringly juicy as well."
Mr Tom Lavercombe (21-Jun-2018)
Mr Michael Martin (20-Jan-2018)
"A fine blend of light vanilla notes and subtler oak charms (compared to other Riojas)
Bramble and olive on the nose and palate with a juicy robust body and finish that asks to be paired with spicy meats"
Mr Hugo Allen-Stevens (27-Dec-2017)
"Nice crianza, very drinkable, a tad sweet.
Very good value at this price point - give it a go."
Mr Richard Simon (10-Nov-2017)
"* * * 1/2"
Mr Michal Slavik (06-Nov-2017)
"Needs an hour, but very good after that. Balanced taste mainly oaky, but fruits come through the longer you leave it."
Mr Chris Monks (30-Sep-2017)
"I bought this as a bin end a while back and got round to drinking it last weekend. Wow. One of the best value wines I have ever had from the WS. If you like your Rioja in the classic style then this will fit the bill. As good as some others sold at twice the price. Still plenty of spicy fruit but loads of smooth vanilla oak as well. I was amazed to find it still available so I am off to get some more on Monday."
Mr Arthur Butler (22-Jul-2017)
Mr Alex Downham (05-May-2017)
"Nothing but oak. If you like the taste of sweet wood this is for you. If you like wine - look elsewhere. This is why I rarely drink Rioja anymore. Thought it might make a change."
Mr Andrew Buurman (27-Mar-2017)
"I was pleasantly surprised on opening my first bottle of this wine. This is a well balanced fruity red with pleasing acidity and would partner any red meat dishes well. In my opinion its quality is close to the Society's Exhibition Rioja. Great value at <£10!"
Mr Robert D Clifford-Wing (12-Mar-2017)
"A very pleasant wine, lighter than many riojas and therefore suitable for drinking without food. Good value."
Neil Butter Esq (20-Feb-2017)
"An absolute steal, this has a calm, cool feel to it without the tangy grippy oak you get with some Riojas - more nuanced and delicate with mature fruit and beautiful balance. Serve just above cellar temperature - aromas of tarragon and roast lamb then red fruits. For the price this is excellent."
Mr Paul Jaines (03-Nov-2016)
"Enjoyed this wine, although it's a Crianza the bottle age has helped soften the wine and everything is well integrated."
Mr David Mitchell (31-Oct-2016)
"Classic aged Rioja, in a slightly lighter and sharper crianza style. Lovely scented oak & mature fruit - very good indeed - makes a change from the heavier / darker reservas. Just right with a smoked duckbreast + chicory & orange salad."
Mr Tim Potts (28-Oct-2016)
"Old school Rioja. Savoury and gentle. Lovely!"
Mr Andrew Howe (19-Oct-2016)
Harpers Rioja 10 x 10 (1st Sep 2017)
structured, fully mature, silky, savoury Crianza with lifted acidity. Crying
out for grilled lamb."
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