2014 Remelluri, Rioja DO., Lindes de Remelluri, Vinedos de San Vicente de La SRRA. Spain.
Telmo Rodriguez, one of the most iconic and best winemakers of his generation, having made wine at Jean-Louis Chave in Hermitage and at a few Chateaux in Bordeaux, returned to his family’s Remelluri estate back in 2008 to great effect and success. He has accomplished himself as a champion of terroir over varietal and employs artisan craftsmanship in the cellar, with his wines hardly ever showing overt oak or aggressive alcohol, they always show distinctive purity and a sense of place, and these secondary wines known as Lindes de Remmelluri are magnificent expressions of Rioja, they are richly flavored and soulful wines crafted from old vine purchased fruit from vineyards that prior had got into the family’s main wine. These two vineyard select wines, Labastida and this San Vincente, coming from vineyards that used to go into the Remelluri Reserva are now separated into these two new single vineyard bottlings that are absolutely stunning values, especially in this 2014 vintage. The famous Remelluri estate’s origins date back to the fourteenth century when monks from the Toloño monastery founded a sanctuary and farm at the site with the modern winery dating back to 1967 and since then, according to importer De Maison Selections, Remelluri has been devoted to recovering the old lands of this historic estate and restoring the original vineyards. In fact Remelluri has a collection of hedges and orchards that are maintained and nurtured here and these trees are planted to complement the vineyard blocks, with some almond, peach, fig and above all olive trees, all of which helps facilitate pollination of the vines, as the flowers attract bees.
The beautiful and deep Lindes de Remelluri Viñedos de San Vicente 2014, a field blend of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Garnacha, was fermented using all native yeasts in cool stainless steel tanks and then raised in barrel, 100% French oak, for 12 months before bottling where it is rested a good amount of time as well. San Vincente in the Rioja Alta just to the east of Haro is at about 50 meters up, but hotter than the higher sites at Labastida and at the main Remelluri estate located in Rioja Alavesa which are much cooler, making this wine seem more lush, riper in satiny tannin and with a softer acidity. Grown on hardened clay and calcareous limestone over a firm core of bedrock from organic vines that average at least 40 years of age this wine shows warm dark fruits, blackberry, cherry and plum lead the way along with hints of earthy mulberry and cranberry along with lilacs, cedar/sandalwood, a touch of vanilla and a subtle array of spices. 2014 was a slightly cooler year and that really helps this wine feel alive on the opulent and full bodied palate and it lingers on and on with a echoing aftertaste that is highly impressive. Telmo’s wines are always polished and textural, but distinctly authentic with terruño character and delivering substance along with some flair, which this one shows, it should age well too, I can imagine at least another decade plus with this 2014 San Vincente. Be sure to check out the true estate bottlings, like the Reserva, the Granja Remelluri, a wine that rivals the elite stuff from Rioja be it from Lopez or La Rioja Alta, plus Telmo’s awesome Rioja Blanco, it’s totally unique and reminds me more of Hermitage Blanc, hence that Chave influence, than a white Rioja.
($32 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive