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A polished, gently perfumed modern-style Rioja made from just under two-thirds tempranillo with one-third garnacha and a splash of graciano. The wine displays lovely supple texture on the palate with fine-grained tannins, vibrant fruit character and a savoury finish.
Product Code: SP10331
View all products by Bodegas Basilio Izquierdo
Basilio Izquierdo was the head winemaker at CVNE for 32 years, responsible for one of Rioja’s most reputed brands. In 2007 he decided to create his own wine, ‘B’ (for Basilio). He makes a red, white and rosado, the quantities are tiny and rarely seen out of Spain. Having spent his entire adult life as a winemaker, he is a storehouse of information about the evolution of Rioja from the sixties until today. Basilio works with just a dozen growers across the top Rioja districts of Alta and Alavesa: he believes that old vines are the key to unlocking the quality potential of these vineyards and so only selects vines with a minimum age of 30 years. He favours the classic blend of grape varieties with his reds which are usually made up of nearly two thirds of tempranillo and a third between garnacha and graciano. Basilio ages his wines in new French oak for between one and two years, depending on the vintage. The stylish reds represent the very best of modern Rioja and have the ability to age well. This is-top level ‘garagiste’-style wine production in 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 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.
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