The Oenophiliac

Bringing you stories from the world of wine and beer.

Nicole Linares: Rioja Road Trip – Day 8

Day 8 – May 9th

Rioja DOC LogoWhen I woke up this morning ready to go, I didn’t know that today would be the day that I would meet my favorite rose wine ever. As I said before, I have never been a fan of them, never ordered them or drank them. It all changed today because we went to the Baron de Ley winery. Inigo, the export manager for Baron de Ley, greeted us. He gave us the tour of the vineyard and explained a little about its chateau style and old world techniques. The grounds were beautiful and very well manicured; you could see that a lot of work went into these details. In the middle of a very green grass field was a bell, but more on that later. Baron de Ley is a premium winery and we would be visiting its sister winery, the more mass produced and commercial El Coto. When we arrived at our tasting, the excitement was growing because we could see how much care and meticulous thought went into everything at this winery.

Baron de Ley logo

We tried a Blanco 2012 that I loved. The Viura really gave it great structure. We tried a Reserva 2008 (100% tempranillo), which looked like it has possible sediment. This was a great wine with slight tannin and good acidity. THEN we tried the Rosado. A young 2012 vintage, I was blown away by the pink rose color with white highlights. The nose didn’t leave you expecting much; it was subtle with hints of unripen strawberries, then I tasted it. The wine had a creamy, velvety mouth feel with romantic notes of white chocolate covered cherries (the first thing I thought of was

The monastery and bell at Baron de Ley

The monastery and bell at Baron de Ley

love; aka Valentines Day or an anniversary). I tasted soft vanilla and marshmallows; it had good, light acidity and a sweet soft finish. It was by far, the most surprising and delightful wine I have tried. I loved its expressiveness and softness. We then tried a Gran Reserva 2005 which finished long with sediment and a Monastery Estate 2010, a wine which I rated in my journal a 99 for its complexity and solid structure and balance.  It was the best “tinto” so far! We tried a Tres Vinas (three vines), a blanco blend of Viura, Malvasia and White Granache, which I thought lacked a bit in acidity. Finally we tried a Siete Vinas Reserva 2005 which was a blend a blend of all the major players; Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha, Mazuelo, Viura, Malvasia, Garnacha Blanco. I really enjoyed the wine, but I think the blend was more impressive when you considered all the grape varieties put together rather than the taste of the wine itself.

El Coto winesFor our next tour, we went to Baron de Ley’s sister winery, El Coto. This winery produces mass quantities of wine per year and Inigo said that the profit from this winery helped sustain some of the costs that the more premium winery, Baron de Ley, incurred. For our tasting, we were taken to an amazing building that resembled a lighthouse. As you went up the stairs, the views got better and better and you could see Logrono from all sides. We tried a 100% Viura which I found very refreshing with a clean finish, a Rosado with a subtle nose of pink grapefruit and more acidity than Baron de Ley’s Rosado (I had to compare after trying that amazing rose!).  We tasted a Crianza 2009, which was extremely drinkable with a medium body and the Reserva de Imaz 2008 monovarietal (tempranillo) with notes of stewed raspberries and vegetal notes. It was an elegant wine. We moved on to a Gran Reserva de Imaz 2004, which was a tart, good balanced, drinkable wine.

Later that evening, when we got back to the palace, the winemaker from El Coto, Cesar, stopped by to let us taste some of his wines. We tried a Crianza 2010, filled straight from the tank. A Reserva 2010 with soft tannins, an RSV Real (Coto) with notes of cacao and red currant and a Gran Reserva 2010 with the acidity and tannin in the back of the mouth. We sampled a Viura blanco 2012 and a Cigalo Museum Reserva and Numerus Clausus from Baron de Ley. We tried many wines that day, and for me the most special wine of the day were two; the Baron de Ley Rosado and the Baron de Ley Monastery Estate. Both were delicious and the rose changed my thinking about the style, which I greatly appreciate.

An exhausting but wonderful tasting day!

Journal written by Nicole Lindares

Nicole Linares is a student at the Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality, USA, an active member of her schools Wine Academy and budding wine writer

5 comments on “Nicole Linares: Rioja Road Trip – Day 8

  1. Pingback: Nicole Linares: Rioja Road Trip – Days 9 & 10 | Magic's Wine Guide and Reviews for Newbies.

  2. Pingback: Nicole Linares: Rioja Road Trip – Days 11 & 12 | Magic's Wine Guide and Reviews for Newbies.

  3. Pingback: Nicole Linares: Rioja Road Trip – Day 13 | Magic's Wine Guide and Reviews for Newbies.

  4. Pingback: Nicole Linares: Rioja Road Trip – Days 14 & 15 | Magic's Wine Guide and Reviews for Newbies.

  5. Pingback: Nicole Linares: German Whites & Pinots from Around the World. Plus, Who’s up for Wine Wars? | Magic's Wine Guide and Reviews for Newbies.

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