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A classically styled white Rioja made from this famed Spanish region's classic white grapes (mostly viura with some malvasia), with a proportion aged in barrel. It is deep gold in colour with aromas that are spicy, oxidative and nutty, rather than fruity.
Product Code: SP14661
View all products by Bodega Classica
Bodega Classica is an imposing winery atop a hill in the village of Sonsierra in the sub region of Rioja Alta amid the foothills of the Toloña Mountains, a part of the great Sierra de Cantabria range that does so much to protect the Rioja region from the less desirable Atlantic influences from the north. At this positively shiny modern facility, built in 2006, all the grapes harvested from their surrounding 70 hectares of vineyards are gravity fed into vats and presses without the need to use intrusive pumps. Even the winery’s situation atop a hill is all part of the plan as it allows for air circulation to play a natural role in the temperature control of the complex and the cellars that are built into the hill below, again for the ease of temperature control that this naturally affords. It is attention to detail in such matters that amply illustrates the desire of Bodega Classica to produce high-quality wines. Ricardo Arambarri manages the estate under the umbrella of a larger group called Vintae, established by his father, Riojan businessman and wine-lover José Miguel Arambarri Terrero, which operates winemaking projects in six other Spanish regions. They chose the area of Sonsierra for this particular project because they believe that the poor but well drained limestone-clay soils at 500-600 metres altitude up in the foothills provide a perfect terroir for old vine tempranillo, grown on bush-vines and hand-harvested at low yields. The winemaking is in the classic Rioja style culminating in time in French and American oak with the length of its stay dependant on the status of the wine, eg reserva or gran reserva. The reserva, in which the tempranillo is ably supported by graciano, sees 20 months in barrels before a further two in bottle before release. Bodega Classica release their wines under a variety of labels including Lopez de Haro and Dominum.
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.
"For the money this is one of the best white Riojas I've had in a long time. Dry fruity with considerable body and a touch of integrated oak. It's quite delicious. "
I would recommend this wine
"Aromas of peach and apricot right when I opened it, which I wasn’t expecting, which quickly gave way to vanilla, hazelnuts and toasty oak - with a nice strong vein of almost grapefruity acidity running through it. This was my first white Rioja ever so I have no way of comparing it with others, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would certainly have it again."
"Recommended by a fellow society member and a regular favourite since."
I would recommend this wine
"Very disappointing. It was thin, acidic and nothing like other white rioja I have tried.
Nothing like the quality of other Wine Society wines."
"I haven't sampled many white Rioja's, so have little to compare.
However, based on likeability I would say this is a gentle, fresh white wine that is pleasant to drink with or without food. To me it has a nice soft end, with a pleasant autumn nuttiness . I like the delicate oak nuance as it's not too over powering but still there.
It isn't a wine that lingers and it doesn't have any strong tropical fruity tones. Just a nice, easy drinking, well priced white that would probably appeal to many easy going white wine drinkers!
Although this would not be on my dinner party list, it would make it onto my Wine Wednesday list!
"An excellent wine - soft peachy oaky undertones. Great with cold meats and prawn cocktail. Highly drinkable, might have to open another bottle!"
"Pleasant rather than outstanding. For me the oak actually detracts and clouds the fruitiness of the wine.
Very round compared with other white Rioja I have tasted.
I don't think I would re-order this wine."
"While I might argue with the "deep gold colour" (it seems much lighter than that to me), there is absolutely nothing else I'd quibble with. Lovely wine with good flavours and length. I've just had this to accompany seafood risotto and it matched perfectly (and was a great support while I was cooking it). If it's this good in December, I expect it will be even better on a hot summer's day. Will definitely order again."
"This was a bit too dry for my palate! "
"This a delectable white Rioja. It's exactly what you'd want from a society bottle: the cost to quality ratio is pointing in just the right direction. It's got lovely nutty, oaky aromas and drinks very cleanly. I think it's a little more oaky than 'light' but that's no problem for me and it's by no means overbearing. At £8.95 it's a very reasonable price and I'd be happy to give it 4.5 / 5. Will be ordering more (both for drinking on its own and with food pairings). "
"Not what I was expecting. Advertised as "deep gold in colour". Not the bottle I tried. Pale and insipid. I agree with what other members have said who did not like this wine. Would not buy again"
"Dry, fruity and cheerful, a feelgood wine that feels even better when you consider the price. Cracking value!"
"A bit boring and too oakey for my taste"
"Golden colour in the glass, there's not much on the nose so it has a light intensity with aromas of citrus and light oak. The palate is more medium with flavours of citrus, honey, butter and vanilla. It reminds me of an oaked Chardonnay.
Acidity is low with a medium(-) finish. The white Rioja I tried before had put me off trying again. This hasn't.
"Bright but with a nutty, creamy core. The oak sits in the mix beautifully. Yes, there's hardly any fruitiness, but it's white Rioja, what do you expect?!"
"I really enjoyed this, dryish, light wine, great to accompany a pork dish I had, and very easy drinking. "
"Found this to be really bland "
"Too sharp and fruity for me. I expected it to be lighter. "
"Good value for money would buy again "
"Very average and quite Sharp. Wouldn't buy again"
"Seeking an alternative to SB or Chardonnay under £10 for easy summer drinking? Look no further. This wine is a delight and great value . Don't over chill. "
"Too simple, get bored before reached half bottle. Overall it is a good wine, but if you have something to compare you will conclude that this is quite average."
The Spectator 26th Jul 2019
"Wines of the week: A
perfect summer wine this and corking good value to boot. Made by Bodega
Classica in Rioja Alta overseen by The Wine Society’s head buyer, Pierre
Mansour, it’s a blend of viura (mainly) and malvasia (a touch) and commendably
approachable. Although fresh and easy-going, gentle oak-ageing of part of the
blend has added texture and colour and the result is a wine of quite some
style. - Jonathan Ray"
"This wine clearly divides opinion. I'm with the sizeable minority that isn't keen. There's nothing really wrong with the wine, but it really isn't my idea of what white Rioja should taste like. "
Mr Steven Bliss (26-Jan-2019)
"This was a new experience for us being more familiar with aromatic Portuguese whites and the ubiquitous New World Sauvignons. Thoroughly enjoyed the aromatic “herby” overtones of this White (with spiced loch trout and garlicky veg) and will definitely buy again"
Mr Ian P Lucas (18-Jan-2019)
"Thoughly enjoyed this white Rioja and will be purchasing more.........."
Mr Kevin Scott-Cowell (15-Jan-2019)
"Regrettably this Rioja doesn’t merit a star. Not a disappointment just thoroughly unpleasant. Had I been told thes bottles of a mixed case had been left out in the sun or on a radiator for a week I wouldn’t have been surprised. Its golden colour aroused a suspicion which was heightened by the lack of nose. Unbalanced because fruit is in short supply. The label’s tasting notes suggests nutty complexity- I don’t think so. Mercifully little length. After trying a second bottle I consigned it to the ‘cooks nips."
Dr Richard F Barrett (15-Dec-2018)
"this wine had nothing to do with a white Rioja and it was not a good wine either. Probably worth to get a new producer!"
Mr Thierry Levenq (06-Dec-2018)
"My first return to white Rioja in many years. I absolutely loved it. Really enjoyed the dryness and nut flavours. Wonderful - will be buying more"
Mr Stuart Crowther (03-Dec-2018)
"A fabulous addition to the The Society's Rioja range - perfectly expresses the modern approach to white Rioja with the leaner and age -worthy Viura grape softened by a little fruity Malvasia and some of the blend matured in classy French oak to give a concentrated, flavoursome and textural white with lovely freshness and impressive length. The oak rounds out the wine as well as adding a spiciness to it - but is much less evident here than in the traditional more oxidative style of oaked white Rioja.
It was delicious on day 1 - the next day even better. "
Mrs Pippa Hayward (19-Nov-2018)
"For many years I have enjoyed all styles of these type of wines. I found this to be an excellent example of subtle oak aging and zesty crisp yet aromatic fruit. I thought it a more subtle example than the very lovely Navajas . In addition I felt whilst not in the same class as Gravonia or Tondonia ,it did share some lovely similarities at a brilliant price. "
Mr Alan Pendlebury (11-Nov-2018)
"What a disappointment.
Lacking everything that a decent Rioja should possess....little depth, nose or flavour, totally unmemorable and quite untypical of the Society's own usually good label wines.
I am a long experienced drinker and afficionada of both red and white Riojas and have a vast stock of both but the remaining bottles of this are destined to be returned.
I pen these notes with a degree of sadness since I rate the Wine Society products very highly but this one was very poor and merits only one star.
Mr David A Murdoch (26-Oct-2018)
"The white Rioja I’m most familiar with is the Navajaz Crianza from the list. From time to time, I’ve lamented that it seems a touch over-oaked. That wasn’t a problem here. There was clearly a slightly nutty note from the oak but I thought this was actually quite zingy - maybe a touch of petillance even. Worth a try for those interested in Spanish whites, but I can’t say this one moved me very much."
Mr David Halliwell (03-Oct-2018)
Daily Record (10th Nov 2018)
"I am lukewarm about
wines from the viura grape after enduring some pretty poor examples of white
Rioja. However, winemakers there have fought hard to create tasty wines from
the variety and several are succeeding well. This is one such success with a
smooth pithy grapefruit central core, good acidity, impressive peach
embellished viscosity and, best of all, a savoury, mineral background
containing hints of hazelnut and tarragon. - Brian Elliott"
The Observer (4th Nov 2018)
"Rioja rivals Bordeaux
as Europe’s most famous wine region. The two in fact have a long tradition of
collaboration: the Spanish region came to prominence in the late 19th century
when Bordeaux winemakers, their own vineyards devastated by the wine plague, phylloxera,
brought their techniques south of the Pyrenees. Today, both regions are all but
synonymous with red wines, with Rioja’s still associated with the soft
vanilla-and-coconut flavours of long ageing in American oak barrels. That oaky
recipe is also used in the best of Rioja’s whites, which, like Bordeaux’s, are
much less well known, much smaller in number, and, at a time when zingy unoaked
sauvignon blanc is king, somewhat out of step with popular taste. Paired with
creamy pasta, mushrooms or richer seafood such as scallops, however, the
style’s savoury creaminess, nicely represented by The Wine Society’s good value
example, comes into its own. - David Williams"
Yorkshire Post (3rd Nov 2018)
citrus-charged Rioja with a creamy mid-palate and a nutty toasty finish. Team
this with gazpacho, grilled herby fish or a fishy paella. - Christine Austin"
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