Home Winners > Winners 2015 > SPAIN: Rioja – Crianza & Sin Crianza

Winner Details

 

Spain: Rioja – Crianza & Sin Crianza 


2015: Gold 2 Silver 15 Bronze 4 Commended 9
2014: Gold 3 Silver 9 Bronze 3 Commended 5


Rioja is one of the largest sections of the Sommelier Wine Awards, delivering swathes of medals over the past few years – and it was a similar story this year. The slightly lower number of Golds, and swollen number of Silvers suggests that the vintages on display here weren’t quite as good as in 2014’s competition, but overall the consistency was impressive and our tasters were happy with what they saw.

The only danger? A category that’s so popular and recognisable that it can swamp anything around it, so pick with care and think strategically!

Star Performer

Congratulations to Bodegas Artesa, which picked up a second consecutive place on the Gold List, with the 2012 following on from last year’s 2011.

FOOTNOTE: As well as wines with no oak ageing, this category also included more expensive wines that had elected not to classify themselves according to Rioja’s ageing hierarchy.



From the Tasting Teams


‘It was really good value for money. As an introduction to Tempranillo this is great.’ Jade Koch, team leader

‘We found good wines with different styles and at different price-points, although the mid-priced showed the best combination of value and flavour.’ Laurent Chaniac, Cinnamon Club

‘I was quite impressed with the entry-level wines. They are the sort of thing I can imagine on by the glass in pubs and so on.’ Eike Bosche, consultant sommelier

‘The danger of Rioja is that it’s too easy to sell – it tends to kill other wine sales; wines you’ve made a real effort to find.’ Ram Chhetri, Bread Street Kitchen

‘Rioja is an easy sell, but customers don’t have much knowledge about the region.’ Enikő Heidenwolf, Bread Street Kitchen

‘Crianzas are great for people who want Spanish flavour, but at an affordable price.’ Julien Sahut, Wine Culture

Award winners

Found 30 wines

Spain: Rioja, Crianza & Sin Crianza

Artesa, Organic, 2012, Rioja , Spain

Gold medal winner

'Light, bright and happy,' said team leader Jade Koch, illustrating how Artesa shot to the top, and adding: ‘Really enticing sweet cherry fruit on the nose, with dry, fine tannins.’ ‘A good amount of fruit-driven intensity with a vibrant, complex, spicy palate,’ said Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison. Perfect with chargrilled mackerel.

£5.85 Boutinot

Finca de los Arandinos, Crianza, 2012, Rioja , Spain

Gold medal winner

'Glorious,' said one judge, while another said: 'What you want to smell from Rioja', examplifying how Finca de los Arandinos struck Gold. ‘Savoury and spicy with smoky oak, dry and chewy palate with grippy tannins but a racy finish,’ said Neil Bruce of Studio Alto, while Riccardo Guzzardo of The Gilbert Scott added: ’Red fruit, high-toned aromas, complex, spicy and long.’

£8.50 De Vinos

Ramón Bilbao, Mirto, 2010, Rioja , Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Sweet aromas with linseed oak notes. Intensely flavoured, very classy, fruit rather than oak on a palate with a dry, firm finish,’ said team leader Richard Bampfield MW, adding: ‘Impressive.' Wonderfully dense, this needs a bit more time to reach its peak of accessibility. We're hoping for a return visit.

£24.80 Ellis of Richmond

Corral, Altos de Corral, Single Estate, 2005, Rioja , Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Full-bodied, with good black fruit and subtle spices,’ added Caroline Brangé of 28°-50° Mayfair. ‘Heady, thick, smoky blackcurrant compote aromas followed by a dark, fine palate with long tannins, ample fruit and light acidity, with good fresh blackcurrant on the finish,’ added team leader Jade Koch, suggesting the tannins still need some time, 'But good to enjoy now with charry steak.'

£23.64 Matthew Clark

Baigorri, Belus, 2009, Rioja , Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Black fruit profile, ripe fruit with some fennel and coconut, oak well integrated and good balance, with nice length on the palate,’ said Gareth Ferreira of Launceston Place. ‘Good acidity, will improve with time,’ added Xavier Rousset MS of Texture and 28º-50º.

£13.45 Matthew Clark

Rolland & Galarreta, Tempranillo, 2010, Rioja , Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Deep, youthful, with a highly attractive nose, black fruit and well-integrated oak,’ began team leader Richard Bampfield MW, continuing: ‘Sweetly fruited and mellow, really enjoyable style, finishing fresh and flavoursome.’

£12.78 Matthew Clark

Pago de Larrea, Caecus, Crianza, 2011, Rioja , Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Some berry notes on a light, fresh aroma with gentle spice wafts, soft red and black fruits with savoury notes on the palate, nice acidity with gentle tannins,’ said team leader Tom Forrest of this wine with its potential to age further. ‘Black Forest gateau with intense dried fruits, supple and savoury,’ added Yves Desmaris MS of Lutyens.

£10.00 The Flying Corkscrew

Valdemar, Conde de Valdemar, Crianza, 2010, Rioja , Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Good, crunchy, fat oak but not intrusive,’ began team leader Angela Reddin, continuing: ‘A well-made wine, showcasing fruit with gentle supportive oak and good length.’ ‘Almost a Reserva-level wine, with good, juicy fruit married well to the judicious use of oak,’ added Laurent Richet MS of Restaurant Sat Bains.

£8.54 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Solar Viejo, Crianza, 2012, Rioja , Spain

Silver medal winner

‘A darker colour, with cherry fruit and a touch of sweetness, lovely balance and body, pubs will love it by the glass,’ suggested consultant sommelier Eike Bosche, with Yves Desmaris MS of Lutyens adding: ‘Clean, interesting, with black fruits, herbaceous notes and medium length.’

£6.50 Molson Coors

El Meson, Crianza, 2009, Rioja , Spain

Silver medal winner

Easy-drinking and well-integrated throughout, this has: ‘Good red fruits, delicate wood character, medium body and soft tannins, refreshing acidity on the finish with plenty going on in the mid-palate, this is good value for money,’ said Enikő Heidenwolf of Bread Street Kitchen.

£5.40 Bottle Green

FOS, Crianza, 2011, Rioja , Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Soft, plump, juicy red fruit with good oak integration and hints of chocolate,’ said Hakkasan London’s Rebecca Coates, with Neil Bruce of Studio Alto adding: ‘Quite elegant, savoury nose, with a smoky, toasty palate and notes of bitter chocolate.’

£8.75 Templar Wines , Connoisseur Estates

Marqués de Cáceres, Excellens, Cuvée Especial, 2011, Rioja , Spain

Silver medal winner

Vincent Pastorello of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester noted: 'Dark fruit, spices, cassis and wild strawberry, the palate is fresh and concentrated with good fruit and a long finish.' Team leader Angela Reddin added: ‘Inky, with loganberry and lightly scented, clean, vibrant fruit.’

£7.50 Laytons

Baigorri, Crianza, 2011, Rioja , Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Rather gamey on the nose but good freshness too,’ noted Yves Desmaris MS of Lutyens, continuing: ‘Medium bodied but intense, with soft tannins, fresh and delightful.’ ‘A touch of farmyard with clove spice and ripe fruits,’ added Enikő Heidenwolf of Bread Street Kitchen.

£13.45 Matthew Clark

Baigorri, De Garage, 2010, Rioja , Spain

Silver medal winner

Team leader Laura Rhys MS noted: ‘Dark, rich, ripe fruit with meaty, smoky oak notes. Lively intensity and complexity with elegance on the palate and well-integrated wood.’ And The Gilbert Scott’s Riccardo Guzzardo found it: ‘Wild, with good fruit and balance, notes of juniper and high tannins.’

£33.42 Matthew Clark

Olarra, Sagasta, Crianza, 2013, Rioja , Spain

Silver medal winner

Team leader Laura Rhys MS found this example ‘good value’, saying: ‘Dark fruits, rich and ripe. Meaty with sweet spices and bold oak, even a little on the chunky side.’ Rebecca Coates of Hakkasan London found: ‘Sweet spice, cloves, red fruit and nice oak.’

£6.07 C&D Wines

Bilbaínas, San Millán, Crianza, 2011, Rioja , Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Bright red berries, cherries and cranberry fruit, with good balance and freshness in an enjoyable, house style,’ said Ram Chhetri of Bread Street Kitchen. ‘Simple wine, fruity, medium tannin with a hint of vanilla; actually lovely for the price,’ added Laurent Richet MS of Restaurant Sat Bains.

£6.04 Majestic Commercial

Bilbaínas, Viña Pomal, Centenario, Crianza, 2012, Rioja , Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Great tannin structure, with great fruits and purity on the palate, a wine that could be worth cellaring for two to three years,’ recommended Laurent Richet MS of Restaurant Sat Bains, with Ram Chhetri of Bread Street Kitchen adding: ‘Big, bold and very enjoyable.’

£8.95 Matthew Clark

Olarra, Otoñal, Tinto, 2014, Rioja , Spain

Bronze medal winner

‘Simple, pleasant, well-priced, great authentic type style and a house red option,’ began Xavier Rousset MS of Texture and 28º-50º, with team leader Richard Bampfield MW adding: ‘Juicy, fruity, red cherry style, nicely balanced and uncomplicated.’

£4.64 C&D Wines

Leza Garcia, Taruso, Tempranillo, 2013, Rioja , Spain

Bronze medal winner

While Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison found a ‘vanilla-scented, aromatic, spicy nose’, team leader Jade Koch highlighted: ‘Sweet cherry fruit aromas, very clean, pretty fruit and a hint of vanilla on the palate. Perky and bright, happy wine that could be chilled.’

£6.78 Enotria&Coe

Dinastía Vivanco, Crianza, 2010, Rioja , Spain

Bronze medal winner

‘Easy drinking,’ began Riccardo Guzzardo of The Gilbert Scott, continuing: ‘Good red fruit, a little sweet but gentle on the palate.’ ‘Elegant, spicy, smooth nose and lovely fruit and poise on the palate,’ added Neil Bruce of Studio Alto.

£10.02 Bibendum Wine

Marqués de Riscal, Marqués de Arienzo, Crianza, 2010, Rioja , Spain

Bronze medal winner

‘This comes into the delicious category,’ began impressed team leader Angela Reddin, continuing: ‘Nose is cordial-like, with fruit pastille aromas, ripe and succulent fruit with a dollop of vanilla.’ ‘Deep and rich in both colour and aroma,’ added Chris Wood of Chelsea Vintners.

£8.79 Enotria&Coe

Orben, Red, 2011, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner

£15.75 Liberty Wines

Aldeanueva, Torre Aldea, Tinto , 2013, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner

Corral, Don Jacobo, Viticultura Ecológica, Tinto, 2010, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner

£9.51 Matthew Clark

Boutinot, Vega del Rayo, Vendimia Seleccionada , 2013, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner

£5.75 Boutinot

Príncipe de Viana, Austral, Semi-Crianza , 2013, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner

£6.91 Enotria&Coe

Marqués de Reinosa, Crianza , 2012, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner

£7.06 Laytons

Ramón Bilbao, Viñedos de Altura, 2012, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner

Ramón Bilbao, Edición Limitada , 2012, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner

CVNE, Viña Lobera, Crianza, 2010, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner