When Fernando Remírez de Ganuza arrange his personal bodega in Rioja in 1989, he had no winemaking background. However he had a imaginative and prescient… As a winery dealer, shopping for and promoting parcels of vines, he had in-depth information of the terroirs of Rioja and knew the place he needed to supply grapes to make his wines.
Scroll all the way down to see tasting notes and scores for the six Remírez de Ganuza wines tasted
His preliminary assortment of high quality vineyards throughout the Sierra Cantabria foothills included the villages of Samaniego, Leza, Elciego, San Vicente de la Sonsierra, Laguardia and Abalos. In addition to sourcing top-quality grapes, he additionally adopted an revolutionary, virtually radical, method within the vineyard too.
On the time in Rioja, little consideration was paid to sorting grapes after that they had been picked. So in 1991 Remírez de Ganuza turned the primary vineyard within the area to personal a sorting desk. Whereas sorting the grapes, Fernando observed that the ‘shoulders’ of the bunches have been riper and extra concentrated. In 1998 he began chopping off the information and solely utilizing the shoulders of the bunches to make his pink wines: a reserva and gran reserva.
Setting the scene
‘This grape choice has been key to our manufacturing,’ defined José Ramon Urtasun, who joined the bodega as co-owner in 2010. ‘For my part our use of a sorting desk was the start of a change in Rioja, as then different individuals began specializing in the number of grapes and high quality,’ he added.
One other change that was pushed by Remírez de Ganuza was the introduction of new French oak to age wines. Historically Riojan producers had all the time favoured lengthy ageing in American oak barrels for his or her wines. However from the beginning the vineyard used extra French than American oak, most of it 100% new barriques. ‘At first we have been referred to as a contemporary producer as a result of we have been utilizing French oak,’ defined Urtasun.
He informed the viewers on the Discovery Theatre that immediately Remírez de Ganuza owns 80ha of vineyards, unfold over 200 plots in 9 villages, with a median vine age of 60 years. ‘It’s essential that the vineyard is near the Sierra Cantabria, which brings freshness to the grapes,’ Urtasun stated. Greater than three a long time on, has the model of the wines advanced?
Urtasun determined to discover this query with Decanter readers on the Discovery Theatre. ‘It’s by no means straightforward to determine what wines to deliver,’ he defined. ‘So I introduced wines that talk of the place we began and wines that present the place we would go.’
The primary three wines have been due to this fact older vintages: Reserva 2012, Gran Reserva 2005 and Trascnocho 2010. The latter wine is made solely in prime vintages and is yet one more instance of innovation at Remírez de Ganuza. When the juice for the reserva and gran reserva has been run off, the remaining skins are pressed by inserting a PVC balloon into the fermenters and progressively filling it with water. This system, which took 9 years to good, gently presses the grapes whereas avoiding friction and oxidation to create brisker, purer wines.
Clearly constructed to final, these mature older vintages have been tasting superbly on the day: complicated and layered, their construction is undoubtedly formed by that French oak, but it surely by no means dominates their flavours or aromas. All nonetheless confirmed loads of recent, main fruit.
The Reserva 2012 and Gran Reserva 2005 are each Tempranillo-dominant – Rioja’s signature grape selection – however blended with 10% Graciano. ‘The Graciano provides further freshness to the Tempranillo,’ defined Urtasun.
Remírez de Ganuza’s reservas and gran reservas are additionally fermented with skins of white grape Viura. ‘Co-fermenting with white grapes is a approach of preserving the wine,’ stated Urtasun, explaining that it causes a chemical change within the construction of the reds, rising their potential for longevity.
And there’s extra to come back… ‘Trasnocho 2010 wants extra years, but it surely has promise,’ quipped Urtasun. These are actually wines for the lengthy haul.
In with the brand new
The following three wines to be tasted have been a number of youthful and newer bottlings from Remírez de Ganuza. Most up-to-date was Iraila Garnacha 2021: the bodega’s solely single-varietal Garnacha. Its inaugural classic was 2020. Whereas a lot of the Garnacha planted in Rioja comes from hotter Rioja Oriental within the east, the bodega as soon as once more determined to do issues a little bit in a different way. Iraila is sourced from two cool, high-altitude vineyards on the slopes of the Sierra Cantabria in Rioja Alavesa.
A product of but extra innovation and experimentation, Iraila is aged in three completely different vessels: 228-litre French oak, a cigar-shaped 275-litre barrel and a 400-litre amphora. ‘Iraila’ means ‘September’ within the Basque language. Urtasun defined that the title was chosen as a result of the wine displays the character of a Spanish autumn: heat however recent. Will this wine age in bottle? ‘We’ve stored 300 bottles on the vineyard to seek out out,’ he suggested.
Decanter readers have been additionally fortunate sufficient to style a pattern of Unico Viñedo Paraje La Rad 2020, a brand new single-vineyard Tempranillo. Already displaying pretty purity of fruit and a definite florality to the aromatics, Urtasun defined that there was no want so as to add Graciano to the mix, as this specific plot of Tempranillo produced naturally brisker grapes.
The tasting session completed with Remírez de Ganuza Olagar Blanco Gran Reserva 2015. Constituted of Viura, the primary Remírez de Ganuza blanco was launched in 2004. It was adopted by a blanco gran reserva in 2013. Nonetheless innovating, the bodega’s whites are barrel-fermented at a low temperature in a cool room. In an effort to keep away from oxidation throughout batonnage, the closed barrels are positioned on rollers and rotated as a substitute of being opened and stirred. The result’s a classy Burgundian-style white Rioja that wears its bottle age elegantly.
Tasting notes and scores for the Remírez de Ganuza wines