Sínodo

Raposeras - 2017

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Notes

Sínodo is the passion project of three friends; Roberto Monforte, Gorka Etxebarria, and Juan Antonio Blanco, who met during their Oenology studies at the University of Rioja. 

Raposeras is made with grapes from a singular vineyard planted in 1916 by Juan Antonio's own great grandfather, talk about generational winemaking!

The vineyard is part of Rioja's new classification system and is one of the first official Viñedos Singulares of La Rioja, from the 2018 vintage onwards. Sinodo already has one other vineyard (Los Tollos) designated a Viñedo Singular; so far there are only about 80 vineyards from 50 producers in La Rioja that have been recognized with the title (similar to grand cru in la Bourgogne, France).

In order to achieve the Viñedo Singular designation, the wine must meet a strict set of requirements. This new system will ensure maximum traceability of the region's most unique vineyards and make sure they remain protected in the future. 

Raposeras is a deep and brilliant red cherry color. The nose keeps the characteristic cranberry flavour and sweet oak of the previous vintage of Raposeras but with increased intensity. The mouth is a fruit explosion, full-bodied and with a velvety finish.

You can read more about the handful of Viñedos Singulares in la Rioja here.

Facts

Annual Production: 763 bottles (The club has access to 80 annually)
Type: 
 Tinto (red)
Body: 
 Medium to Full
Palate: 
 Dry
Finish:  
 Velvety & Long
Grape Variety:
 98.5% Tempranillo 1.5% Garnacha
Viticulture / Farming: Sustainable & Organic - Terroir Driven
ABV%: 14.5
Ageing: 11 months in used French Oak (imparting only light wood notes)
Winemakers:  Roberto Monforte, Gorka Etxebarria, Juan Antonio Blanco
Bodega: Sínodo Vitivinícola
Region: Rioja Alta, Subregion Najerilla, municipality of Uruñuela
Designation of Origin: DOCa Rioja
Micro-Climate: Mediterranean/Continental – cool & humid winters (2ºC) and hot dry summers (29ºC)
Elevation: Average 525 meters above sea level
Age of Vines: Planted 1916 – 105 years old
Soil: Sandy surface with a calcareous subsoil

Tips

  • Drink now or keep for up to 15 years
  • Decant if possible or open 30 minutes before serving
  • Pairs well with red meats, Manchego cheese, Jamon Iberico, stews, paella and other rice dishes, chocolate desserts 
  • Ideally served just below room temperature

Terroir

The Raposeras vineyard was planted by Juan Antonio's own great-grandfather. It sits on an undulating landscape on the outer limit of Uruñuela and Cenicero, in the Najerilla Subregion.
In the past, the more fertile soils with irrigation were reserved for other crops and the vines were planted in harsher soils without access to irrigation. The centennial Raposeras vineyard grows in sandy calcareous soil and consists of Tempranillo vines with 5 vines of Garnacha. This is true ancestral viticulture.

The Rioja DOCa (DOCa = Denominación de Origen Calificada) is one of the oldest in Spain and the region has a history of producing wine dating back to the Phoenicians and Celtiberians in the 9th century CE.

The popular wine region of La Rioja is located in the northern part of Spain, about 240 kilometres north of the capital, Madrid, and 95 kilometres south of Bilbao.
The Rioja viticultural area is very diverse. It stretches about 120 Kilometres long by 40 Kilometres wide, and is crossed from Northwest to Southeast by one of the longest rivers in Spain, the Ebro river, with seven of its tributaries and their corresponding valleys, and six mountain ranges.

Some call it the land of a thousand wines, but it is even more diverse than that. You might have read that the region is divided into three main areas; Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Oriental (formerly Rioja Baja).
This division is obsolete and it is being reviewed because it doesn’t provide detailed information about the great variety of Terroirs and viticultural traditions of La Rioja.  The new Terroir-oriented partition will be formed by six to eight subregions.

In 2017 the Consejo Regulador of the Rioja DOCa introduced a new wine classification system, moving away from the similarly obsolete classification of oak-ageing as an indication of quality (remember: Genérico, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva).

Now on the wine labels apart from the indication of the traditional zones (Rioja Alta, Alavesa, or Oriental), and the municipality (or village) (Note: there are 145 Municipios in the viticultural region of La Rioja), you may now find the indication of Viñedo Singular (a similar concept to "Grand Cru” vineyards in La Bourgogne).

Vinification

Manually harvested in 8kg crates in September. The whole bunches undergo an initial spontaneous natural fermentation after which the grapes are gently crushed (the traditional way, treading!) until the alcoholic fermentation is complete. Their goal is to be very gentle with the extraction. After pressing the wine is transferred to 2 barrels of used French oak for 11 months and 100 litres are placed in a separate stainless steel tank for malolactic fermentation to give the wine its velvety feel. After 6 months, the wine is recombined for the rest of the ageing process. The wine is only ever moved using gravity, no mechanical pumps are used at any stage of the process. 

Winemaker

Sinodo Vitivinicola is a project started by three friends; Roberto Monforte, Gorka Etxebarria, and Juan Antonio Blanco. The three met during their Oenology studies at the University of La Rioja, and immediately hit it off; dreaming of creating wines together one day. 

In 2014 that dream came true, beginning as a fledgling side project while the three worked at separate wineries. Sinodo has since flourished into an internationally well-respected bodega of La Rioja, with three of their vineyards achieving the venerated official title of Viñedo Singular (only 84 vineyards in La Rioja hold this title). 

Their objective is to create honest wines, born of their ancestral family vineyards, with the utmost respect towards the terroir and the traditional framework of cosecheros (viticulturists) working with winemakers. This is why they believe in spoiling their vines with attention; being part of the whole process from la vendimia (grape harvest) to the point of bottling, something that isn’t possible in large-scale operations.

They firmly believe that the meticulous hands-on approach is the best way to create top-quality wine while also preserving ancestral vines and the traditions of La Rioja; a unique heritage that they strive to protect for future generations.

Ratings

 94 Points - Tim Atkin (Master of Wine)

Destined to be a future Viñedo Singular, this cuvée of Tempranillo and 1% Garnacha comes from a tiny vineyard owned by partner Juan Antonio Blanco that was planted in Uruñuela in 1916. Sappy, intense and aromatic, it has bramble and blueberry fruit and the effortless balance and concentration of a great old-vine site framed by stylish French oak. 2024-33.

92 Points - Luis Gutiérrez Santo Domingo (Wine Advocate, Robert Parker)

The 2017 Sínodo Raposeras is quite impressive for the vintage and doesn't show as high ripeness as the Los Tollos from this same vintage. Yes, it's riper and a little darker than the 2018, but it still keeps its poise, aromas of black fruit and sweet spices, nicely integrated and very clean. The oak in neatly integrated with the wine too. The palate is medium to full-bodied, juicy and round, with glossy tannins and some chalky minerality in the finish. 763 bottles were filled in September 2018.

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