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Home Winners > Winners 2017 > SPAIN: Rioja – Reserva & Gran Reserva

Winner Details

Spain: Rioja – Reserva & Gran Reserva 

2017 Gold: 3 Silver: 8 Bronze: 5 Commended: 11
2016 Gold: 4 Silver: 6 Bronze: 5 Commended: 9

As with the crianzas, jovens and whites, this was a rather insipid performance from Rioja. Not bad, you understand, just uninspiring. Medal count and feedback were both generally middle of the road, and while pretty much all of our tasters agreed that this is an absolutely essential category, with high customer recognition, they weren’t especially excited by it beyond its ability to generate profit.

This, though, will get harder on this evidence. Whereas the sweet spot a couple of years ago was in the £9-£11 area, now it’s more like £11-£13, taking the wines through some crucial price points on the way.

More positively, we had our first Gran Reserva Gold for many years. Well done Lan.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘Reservas are a very popular category across the wine lists of London. There was something for everyone.’ Andrea Briccarello, team leader

‘It’s not always worth paying more for gran reserva, especially if the quality of the oak being used isn’t good.’ Charlie Young, Vinoteca

‘The Reservas were a good flight. They were all very clean, fruit-forward, fresh wines, all well made.’ Jade Koch, team leader

‘Some producers in Rioja go for extraction, others are more understated. To find out the style you’re better off paying more attention to the degree of alcohol and the vintage than the term reserva.’ Matthieu Longuère MS, Le Cordon Bleu London

‘It’s very popular with consumers, for them Rioja means Spanish wine. Many customers ask for it when they’ve tasted it before. You find them on every wine list in good restaurants. People know the name, they come back and ask for it.’ Jacopo Armenio, Vinarius

‘Almost half our Gran Reserva flight were faulty, but there were some nice medals in the end. There was a lovely mix across price points and traditional styles and modern styles.’ Annette Scarfe MW, team leader


Award winners

Found 27 wines

Spain: Rioja: Reserva & Gran Reserva

Sogrape, Bodegas Lan, Gran Reserva 2008, Rioja, Spain

Gold medal winner

This was a gran reserva worthy of Gold, with team leader Annette Scarfe MW finding ‘good concentration of dark berry fruit with rounded acidity, a pleasantly juicy mid-palate and good length on the finish’. Fellow team leader Sam Caporn MW found it ‘a lovely wine, and still quite youthful, with spicy oak, which would pair well with tapas such as chorizo and patatas bravas’.

£15.95 Liberty Wines

Vivanco, Reserva 2010, Rioja, Spain

Gold medal winner

‘Ruby colour and medium-bodied structure,’ said Buddha Bar’s Piotr Artur Tomaszewski of this Gold medal reserva, finding ‘cherries and plums on the nose with farmyardy hints, cinnamon and pencil shaving notes on a fresh, rounded palate, showing more cherry and plum fruit – and it’s good value for money, too’. Meanwhile, Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted enjoyed its ‘light, elegant nose, lovely mix of red fruits, blackberry and forest floor, with refreshing acidity’. Vinoteca’s Charlie Young thought ‘savoury, spicy, fresh aromas and some power on the palate, with acidity to match’ made this perfect for slow-cooked pork belly.

£12.42 Bibendum

Finca Valpiedra, Reserva 2010, Rioja, Spain

Gold medal winner

This could only be Gold, with Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted dubbing it a ‘beautiful, old school wine, a treasure in a glass’, and relishing its ‘dry, cherry fruit and forest berries, leafy character with lots of waves of flavour – a meditation wine that will keep happily in the cellar, with its kick of acidity helping it to age well’. ‘A lovely complex wine, quite spicy and savoury, as well as elegant and fresh,’ added Matthieu Longuère MS of Le Cordon Bleu London, while Geoffray Bénat of Cépages Wine Bistro recommended it be served with venison fillet.

£19.93 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Rioja Vega, Viejas Añadas, Gran Reserva 2008, Rioja, Spain

Silver medal winner

Team leader Annette Scarfe MW picked up ‘creamy American oak on the nose, then soft tannins on a juicy mid-palate with ripe strawberries and sweet spice notes, satisfying and good length’, and Andre Luis Martins of the Cavalry & Guards Club found it ‘opulent, with dark spicy plum liqueur aromas and gentle jammy fruit on the palate and finish’.

£14.99 House of Townend

Ramón Bilbao, Reserva 2011, Rioja, Spain

Silver medal winner

A ‘perfect understated style’ for Matthieu Longuère MS of Le Cordon Bleu London, who enjoyed its ‘warm spices, cocoa notes and evident oak’ on the nose, finding it ‘pleasant, really concentrated and elegant, with a lot of freshness on the finish’. ‘Drying, cool, elegant with strawberry fruit and a lighter style,’ said team leader Jade Koch.

£9.95 Enotria&Coe

Ramón Bilbao, Reserva Original 2012, Rioja, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Modern, very forward, charming velvety nose, with sour cherry and vibrant freshness on the palate, well balanced with a savoury finish,’ said team leader Andrea Briccarello, while Jason Atherton Group’s Stefan Kobald felt it was ‘developing, with hints of vanilla and clove, medium oak usage and good balance overall, with Ribena notes on the palate’.

£15.00 Enotria&Coe

Valenciso, Reserva 2010, Rioja, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Well-integrated vanilla with dark berries and a hint of tobacco, a great Rioja,’ began Sebastian Agnello of The Don Restaurant, while Stefan Kobald of Jason Atherton Group found it ‘extracted and full bodied, with raspberries in a fruit-forward style that’s fresh, well balanced and easy to drink’.

£14.51 Boutinot

Sogrape, Bodegas Lan, Reserva 2011, Rioja, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Modern style, with plum and cherry fruit and a touch of almond on the nose,’ began Piotr Artur Tomaszewski of Buddha Bar, noting its ‘black and white pepper on the finish, rounded palate and good balance, a big reserva’. ‘Morello cherry on a warm nose, a little tannin with stewed red fruits, jammy and plummy on the end,’ added Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted.

£11.25 Liberty Wines

Corral, Don Jacobo, Reserva 2010, Rioja, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘A great nose that really drags you in,’ said Vinoteca’s Charlie Young, who found ‘nice dark fruit, intense and balanced, ripeness with texture and elegance on the finish’, while Sebastian Agnello of The Don Restaurant enjoyed its ‘fresh strawberries and slightly herbal character, for a good friendly Rioja with tapas’.

£12.36 Matthew Clark

Corral, Don Jacobo, Gran Reserva 2004, Rioja, Spain

Silver medal winner

A ‘traditional style with oxidative winemaking’, said team leader Annette Scarfe MW, who enjoyed its ‘quite savoury style with notes of soy sauce, still juicy on the mid-palate with structured tannins shaping the wine overall’, and Guillaume Mahaut of ETM Group highlighted a ‘balsamic, meaty character with pastry and frangipane vanilla notes, still fresh on the palate with strawberry fruit on the finish’.

£20.68 Matthew Clark

Remelluri, Reserva 2010, Rioja, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘A big wine, with a bigger personality,’ said Michael Fiducia of Coworth Park Ascot, and Vinoteca’s Charlie Young liked its style of ‘wild raspberry fruit on the nose, big profile with nice acidity and chunky tannins, showing great promise’. ‘Fleshy, meaty, with a very juicy core, plums and dark cherry with spices and jammy notes,’ added team leader Andrea Briccarello.

£19.50 Indigo Wine

Ontañón, Reserva 2005, Rioja, Spain

Bronze medal winner

Matthieu Longuère MS of Le Cordon Bleu London found this a ‘lovely savoury, spicy style with well-integrated tannins and a really long, spicy finish’, while Jacopo Armenio of Vinarius enjoyed its ‘intensity of fruits, cooked blackberry and blackcurrant, black pepper and vanilla with a touch of cinnamon’.

£10.78 Boutinot

Riojanas, Monte Real, Reserva de Familia 2012, Rioja, Spain

Bronze medal winner

Sebastian Agnello of The Don Restaurant was pleased to find ‘lots of red wild berry aromas, good structure and great potential to age further’, while team leader Andrea Briccarello noted its ‘voluptuous, generous nose of roses and strawberry jam, good tannins and rounded structure’.

£11.50 EWGA

Cosme Palacio, Tinto, Reserva 2011, Rioja, Spain

Bronze medal winner

Jacopo Armenio of Vinarius found this a ‘powerful wine, with intense cooked blackberry, blackcurrant and black cherry fruit ripeness, and ripe, rounded tannins; hints of forest floor and mushroom make it perfect for a steak’.

£14.86 Bibendum

Criadores de Rioja, Castillo Clavijo, Gran Reserva 2009, Rioja, Spain

Bronze medal winner

‘Cherry and tobacco leaf on the nose, dark spices and earthy, meaty notes on the palate, finishing with a gentle dark olive character,’ said Andre Luis Martins of the Cavalry & Guards Club, with team leader Annette Scarfe MW noting ‘savoury, restrained with dark plums on the finish’.

£12.31 Bibendum

Criadores de Rioja, Castillo Clavijo, Reserva 2010, Rioja, Spain

Bronze medal winner

Michael Fiducia of Coworth Park Ascot found the nose ‘soft and enticing, with dark fruits and sandalwood spice notes’, while The Don Restaurant’s Sebastian Agnello felt it was a ‘good value, easy-drinking Rioja, with fresh raspberry fruit and smooth tannins’.

£9.30 Bibendum

Riojanas, Monte Real, Gran Reserva 2009, Rioja, Spain

Commended medal winner

£15.50 EWGA

Boutinot, Vega del Rayo, Reserva 2011, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner

£7.53 Boutinot

CVNE, Viña Real, Reserva 2010, Rioja, Spain

Commended medal winner

Riojanas, Viña Albina, Vendimia Seleccionada, Reserva 2012, Rioja, Spain

Commended medal winner

Fos, Reserva 2012, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner

Codorníu, Marqués de Laia, Reserva 2012, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner

Valdemar, Conde Valdemar, Reserva 2010, Rioja, Spain

Commended medal winner

Finca Nueva, Gran Reserva 2004, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner

El Coto, Coto de Imaz, Reserva 2012, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner

£10.34 Liberty Wines

Izadi, Reserva 2012, Rioja, Spain

Commended medal winner

£10.19 Liberty Wines

Ondarre, Rioja, Reserva 2012, Rioja , Spain

Commended medal winner

 

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