Tim Atkin's (Master of Wine) 2019 Rioja's Report qualified this wine as "Best Valued Rioja's Red"
A carbonic maceration masterpiece! There's a reason why Tim Atkin MW considers this wine the best value Rioja. 100% Tempranillo but like you've never experienced before.
Travel back 16 generations to experience the style of wine every family was drinking in La Rioja back in the day. You'll notice how easy going and young this one is; bright, fun and fresh! This is a wine with a wonderful personality, extremely well balanced and pleasant. Good for every meal, every day, with anyone.
Carbonic Maceration is an ancient and natural way of making wine, in which whole grape bunches are placed in fermentation tanks, the weight of the grapes begins to crush the ones at the bottom of the tank which then spontaneously ferment due to the naturally occurring native yeasts present on the grapes. As the grapes at the bottom of the tank begin to ferment, they release CO2 which then causes the remaining uncrushed whole grapes to ferment inside the skins (intracellularly). This in turn means that much of the wine is fermented with little contact with the skins, giving it a much more fruit forward and less tannic profile. You may also notice a slight tingle of effervescence on your tongue, that's a fun byproduct of this natural way of fermenting grapes.
Annual Production: 70,000 bottles (The Club has access to 6,000 bottles annually)
Type: Tinto (Red)
Grape Variety: 100% Tempranillo
Ageing: Bottled after full alcoholic and malolactic fermentation
Winemakers: Pilar & Carmelo Fernández Eguiluz
Bodega: Fernández Eguiluz
Region: La Rioja Alta, Sub-region La Sonsierra, Village of Ábalos, between Samaniego and San Vicente de la Sonsierra
Designation of Origin (DOQ): Rioja
Micro-Climate: Continental, mild, with high insolation and cooling summer breezes. About 450l/m2 average annual rainfall
Elevation: Between 580 and 620 meters above sea level
Age of Vines: 35 to 40 years old
Soil: Poor, calcareous and sandy clay
Viticulture / Farming: Sustainable
• Drink now or keep for up to 5 years
• No decanting necessary, just uncork 10 minutes before serving
• Pairs with Tapas, Manchego or any cheese (cow, goat or sheep), Ibérico ham, Paté or any Spreads, Poultry, Pasta or Pizza, Legumes or Meat, all Mediterranean and Asian rice-based dishes spiced but not too hot. Also fine with full-flavour fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, or herring, but also some of the medium-flavour fish, such as snapper, swordfish, grouper or trout
• Ideal at room temperature or slightly chilled, at about 13/14 Celsius (specially if paired with fish-based dishes)
The sub-region of La Sonsierra Occidental, in the northern part of the Rioja Alta, is one of the greatest viticultural areas of La Rioja. Especially Ábalos and San Vicente de la Sonsierra. The micro-climate and the altitude are ideal for vine farming. This very unique terroir has to the north the Sierra Cantabria and Montes Obarenes that block the humid winds from the North and the Cantábrico sea. To the south the river Ebro valley with its mild climate. The soils are of poor calcareous sand, ideal for the cultivation of vines.
The grapes are from all three zones (high, medium and low) of the about 14 hectares (35.5 acres) of vineyards that the Fernández Eguiluz family owns in Ábalos.
After an early green harvest in August removing clusters to achieve the best organoleptic conditions ensuring the health and quality of the grapes, and a harvest by hand, selecting clusters in the field, the entire clusters are transported to the winery and vatted in stainless steel tanks where the intracellular alcoholic fermentation happens by gravity and at a controlled temperature. The malolactic fermentation continues naturally in the same tanks.
The wine is gently filtered by plate and then bottled.
Pilar and Carmelo are the third generation of this family, fully dedicated to their vineyards in Ábalos and wine elaboration since the XIX century.
Basilio and Baldomero, the grand parents started to buy vineyards and produced wine, wine vinegar and "arrope" (a grape syrup used to preserve fruits or as a condiment), mainly for the family consumption.
In 1989 Julián and Mari Carmen, children of Basilio and Baldomero established Bodegas Julián Fernández Garrido. They bought more vineyards. Now their vineyards are between 35 and over 100 years old.
Before building their own winery they produced wine for themselves and for some of the large Rioja producers, such as Muga.
Now Julián is still consulting and helping his children, Pilar and Carmelo.
Carmelo after his studies decided to go back to the vineyards. Pilar after her university worked in textiles for several years but in 2004 decided to go back to Ábalos and join her brother and father in the winery. She studied then oenology in Valencia and Madrid, where she got to meet Carlos Sánchez, a wine passionate from Madrid who changed his professional life as a teacher to oenology and viticulture.
In the last seven years they grew the winery from three to ten different, excellent wines. Six different labels of their own and four more in collaboration with Carlos Sánchez.
In 2019 Tim Atkin rated this wine's 2017 vintage as Rioja's Best Value Red