2019 Cuentaviñas, El Tiznado, Rioja, Spain.
Cuentaviñas by the famous Eguren family in Rioja is a new authentic, and expensive, collection of native varietal wines from unique old vine parcels, like this 100% Tempranillo El Tiznado bottling, the deepest and most perfumed of the wines I’ve tasted so far with black cherry, plum, briar accented marionberry and currant fruits, as well as savory tobacco leaf, allspice, sweet wood notes, subtle herbs de Provence and mineral tones. There’s luxurious toast oak feel, but held in check by good concentration of fruit and firm tannins, plus a cut natural acidity, making for a well rounded experience on the medium/full palate. All the wines of Cuentaviñas are from organic grapes and holistic farming practices with small yields and heightened acidity to make these gorgeous and finely balanced wines. most powerful and structured of the Cuentaviñas wines, El Tiznado, the winery says marries the power of classic Rioja with a line of fresh elegance and minerality inherent to Eduardo Eguren’s wines. These Goblet trained vines, set on uncommon sandy soils with a stained (“tiznados” in Spanish) color, by ferric oxides, hence the name of this wine. This poor soil, the winery explains, imbues the wine with a blacker fruit character and an imposing and balanced structure. The south-west orientation, works well to make for wines of depth and balance, with this El Hoyo Vineyard located in the quarry area of San Vicente de la Sonsierra at good high elevation where Atlantic and Continental climate influences meet. This El Tiznado is serious Tempranillo and while the all Grenache was wonderfully delicious, this might be the one to put away for a few extra years, as patience is likely to bring even more joy here.

Eguren family’s Cuentaviñas new high end label of single site, very limited, Rioja wines is well worth searching out, I’ve just tried a few so far, but they have been outstanding wines, and I’ve have had their excellent Sierra Cantabria Rioja many, many times and continue to love it. Cuentaviñas is located near the town of San Vicente de la Sonsierra where owner Eduardo Eguren grew up, which was the inspiration for this new label. Cuentaviñas, a name that means Storytelling of Wine in Spanish, is owned by Eduardo Eguren and his wife Carlota Gonzales, is small lot winery with wines crafted from three distinct terroir parcels planted to native varietals, mainly Tempranillo, as seen here, along with Graciano and Garnacha (Grenacho in this part of Rioja), which I already reviewed and absolutely loved. As I mentioned in the last review, these Cuentaviñas impressed me, and in particular this vintage that delivers almost Burgundy like class and style, I highly recommend them for serious wine enthusiasts that want to engage with some alternative versions of Rioja and Ribera del Duero. The Tempranillo grapes see a careful selection, double sorting of both the bunches and berries, with a spontaneous fermentation in small French oak vats and maceration-fermentation of 100% de-stemmed grapes that lasts for 21 days. The El Tiznado goes through a late malolactic fermentation (May-June) in new 228-litre French oak barrels, where it aged 18 months and then another 3 months in bottle in an 18th-century underground cave. So far it’s a close battle to decide on a favorite in the lineup here, with this dark garnet El Tiznado slightly ahead, especially after it opens up completely. The Eguren’s Cuentaviñas wines are true enthusiast wines and they will need some extra effort, and a thick wallet, in chasing them down, but it will certainly be a rewarding quest.
($299 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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