What We Say 2006 Cosecha Rioja DO
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Mission Codename: The Sun Also Rises
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Acquire a delicious and exclusive Rioja for our operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Bodegas Escudero Becquer
Wine Subject: 2006 Cosecha Rioja
Winemaker: Benito Escudero
Rioja Is the wine of the Navarre and Basque region of Spain (although the Basques would argue that it is actually Spain). Offically designated Denominación de Origen (or DOC, not to be confused with Italian Goria). The grapes must be local varietals and grown in one of the three Rioja zones. Wine has been produced in the area since the Phoenicians and Celtiberians originally cultivated the land in the 8th century.
Made primary of Tempranillo with the addition Mazuelo , Grenache (Garnacha) and Graciano. Today’s selection is 70% Tempranillo and 30% Garnacha from the town of Grávalos which is about 50 miles south of the famous town of Pamplona.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dense and dark, and nearly black, purple with garnet edges and reflections when held to the light. When swirled evenly spaced slow and fat legs cling to the glass before descending to the wine below.
Smell – Rich, ripe and bold aromas of red and black fruit including red plum, raspberry, blackberry and hints of strawberry. Soft earthy tones along with caramel toasted vanilla oak blend with hints of spice.
Feel – Smooth, dry and plump, this generous full-bodied wine is chewy and generous with finely textured tannins that soften as it breathes. A healthy dose of textured minerality and lively acidity lingers into the finish.
Taste – Rich, but more restrained that the nose would have indicated, with ripe red and black fruit including cherries and other berries, toasted and smokey oak, vanilla toast, mocha, pepper and spice that is framed by the textured minerality.
Finish – Medium long in length with the ripe fruit fading first leaving behind spice, textured minerality and finely grained tannins.
Conclusion – The Bodegas Escudero Becquer is a delicious and fruit forward version of the classic Rioja which often times is too dominated by woody flavors. Rich and bold aromas that are ripe and round on the palate this wine is perfect for your at home version of tapas or grilled meats. Just make sure its not the bull that chased you down the narrow streets of Pamplona at the Fiesta of San Fermin
We are actiacly working to acquire a translated version of the winemaker interview and we will post it as soon as it is available.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of the 2006 Bodegas Escudero Becquer 2006 Cosecha Rioja in Grávalos can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
90 Points – Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar – Bright ruby. Complex aromas of black raspberry, smoky herbs, spices and tobacco, along with a note of graphite. Full and broad in the mouth, with spicy cut to the sappy red and dark berry flavors and a slow-building peppery quality. Finishes chewy, with lingering smokiness and dusty tannins. I’d give this some air or a little more time in the cellar. Issue 145, July/Aug ’09
90 Points – Wine Review Online – A blend of 70% Tempranillo and 30% Garnacha, this is yet another delicious, new wave Rioja that succeeds by dint of favoring fruit over wood. Although the fruit (which recalls dark cherries above all, with a red cherry suggestion as well) is quite ripe and generous, it is also very pure and balanced. The tannins are notable but nevertheless quite polished and fine in grain, and the wine consequently comes off as gutsy but also very classy. Issue July 21, ’09
About This Wine:
Coming from vines with an average age of over 37 years, fruit was hand harvested during the last week of September and the first week of October into small boxes. Fermentation proceeded with native yeasts in stainless steel with a maximum temperature of 30° C followed by 10 additional days of post-fermentation maceration. The wine was then racked to third fill French and Romanian oak barrels for 8 months aging. The wine was racked twice during maturation and was fined with egg whites. After bottling the wine saw a further 6 months of aging in the bottle prior to release.
About The Winery:
A fourth generation family business of winery owners and viticulturists, Bodegas Escudero began in 1852. Our great-grandfather, Juan Escudero, began to elaborate wines in a wine cellar carved into a mountain with a stone wine press and six oak casks of 250 cántaras, each with the approximate capacity of 24,000 litres. His ancestors had been cultivating the vines. The elaborated wines were sold in wineskins (a cask made from the skin of a goat and tar) to the small towns of the Sierra de la Demanda ó Cameros Viejos enjoying much prestige among these towns. The elaboration of cava, however, is more recent. Benito Escudero (present owner of the winery) began to elaborate the first bottles of cava that now constitutes one of the most important products of our winery.
Location of the Winery:
Bodegas Escudero is located in Grávalos, a small Rioja village with old-wine growing tradition, and located in the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda. In the Cameros Viejos and 700 meters above sea level, the winery has a very special microclimate with very cold winters and summers with hot days and cool nights. This difference of temperature between the days and nights of summer cause a slow ripening (maturation) that permits the grapes to obtain some acid with very fine fragrances, tannins that evolve well and an adequate graduation.
Indispensable conditions generate great quality wines and cava that are destined to become young products as well as crianzas, reservas and grandes reservas.
The winery cultivates 100 hectacres of family property: 80 hectacres of varieties of reds: Tempranillo, Mazeulo, Garnacha and Graciano and 20 hectacres of varieties of whites: Viura and Chardonnay. Young red wines, the crianzas and reservas are elaborated with the red varieties. The Viura variety produces the Benito Escudero cava while the Chardonnay creates our Diora Baco cava. It is in the family estate called “Cuesta la Reina” where are planted 60 hectacres of vines. There is a total of 110 hectacres but the other 20 hectacres are planted in the estate “La Legua” of Pradejòn where “Valsacro” is located. The remaining 20 hectacres are distributed in small parcels in the jurisdiction of the town of Grávalos. The estate, “Cuesta la Reina” is a carasol of the Monte de Yerga with rock terrain and clay, calcareous soils and ferrous soils, poor in organic material and with a high quantity of lime. The rainfall is low, with large cycles of drought and a measurement of 400 litres per square meter per year. The time of the sun is abundant and favors an adequate ripening of the grapes.
The Varieties We Cultivate:
Tempranillo – It is the most important and extensive variety and constitutes the base of our crianza and reserva wines, as well as our young reds. Upon maturity it has a very low acid base.
Mazuelo – We utilize it as a complement to the Tempranillo for the crianza and reserva wines. Its dearth of oxidants maintain the stable color and its strong acid makes the Mazuelo an ideal complement to the Tempranillo for wines of long aging.
Garnacha – It is the base for the elaboration of Bécqure Primicia, producing a solid and very aromatic wine. We have 100 year old vines of this variety although in small quantity.
Graciano – This is an appreicated variety in Rioja but we do not possess more than 3 hectacres and until now, it has not been in production.
Viura – It is the base of our white wine for the elaboration of our cava, Benito Escudero Abad. It is a very extended variety in La Rioja and in Catalunya where one know it by the name of Macabeo and it is employed for the elaboration of cavas. It makes little alcohol with strong acid and is very aromatic, and evolves very well in the bottle in contact with the cava yeasts.
Chardonnay – It is the base of our white wine for the elaboration of our Dioro Baco cava. Though in La Rioja this variety is in an experimental phase, in France, it is the queen of the white wines of Borgoña and one of the principals of the French champagnes. It gives wines a lot of body and extract and a very high acid. They are cavas that evolve very well. It is perfectly adapted to our zone.
Grapes: 70% Tempranillo, 30% Garnacha