Los Tollos - 2017
Los Tollos gets its name from a small family vineyard located in Villamediana de Iregua, in the Iregua & Leza Subregion, it is one of the 8 first vineyards in Rioja to be designated a Viñedo Singular (singular vineyard). This new vineyard classification system from the Rioja DOCa is designed to recognize the region's most unique vineyards and the subzones they come from (similar to the Grand Cru appellations in La Bourgogne). In order to achieve the Viñedo Singular designation, the wine must meet a strict set of requirements.
With barely 0,2433 hectares and 854 bottles in the 2017 vintage, Los Tollos is one of the smallest singular vineyards in Rioja. In fact, Gorka Etxebarria finds that “Viñedos Singulares is a great starting point to show a new Rioja which is miles away from the large productions and hyper-competitive prices.”
Planted in 1982, Los Tollos was practically abandoned and on the brink of being removed when Sínodo acquired it in 2014. The vines stand on top of a breezy south-facing hill. The location, according to Etxebarria, “provides excellent ripeness and healthy grapes” and helps to reduce treatments. Los Tollos is a fleshy red, showing rich, ripe, spicy fruit notes that fill the whole palate.
Don't miss your chance to add one of the first Viñedo Singular wines of La Rioja to your cellar, we don't have many bottles!
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.
They are proud to be able to rescue such historic vineyards and nurse them back to health to once again produce some of the highest quality grapes. Their families have been producing wine in La Rioja for generations and they continue to care for the vineyards that their ancestors planted, some over a century ago. All the grapes are cultivated organically using sustainable and traditional methods.
Several of Sínodo's vineyards (Raposeras and Los Tollos) have been designated a Viñedo Singular; so far there are only about 80 vineyards in Rioja that have been recognized with the title.
Sínodo wines can only be found in a few select places such as Lavinia in Madrid, and as of now, we're so excited to be able to offer them here in Toronto to Albae members.
Annual Production: 854 bottles (The club has access to 80 annually)
Type: Tinto (red)
Finish: Long, fresh & intense
Grape Variety: 99% Tempranillo 1% Mazuelo & a few vines of Malvasia de Rioja
Viticulture / Farming: Sustainable & Organic - Terroir Driven
Ageing: 11 months in used French Oak and 50% in a special breathable container
Winemakers: Roberto Monforte, Gorka Etxebarria, Juan Antonio Blanco
Bodega: Sínodo Vitivinícola
Region: Rioja Alta, Subregion Iregua & Leza, municipio Villemediana de Iregua
Designation of Origin: DOCa Rioja
Micro-Climate: Mediterranean/Continental – cool & humid winters (2ºC) and hot dry summers (29ºC)
Elevation: Average 430 meters above sea level
Age of Vines: Planted 1982 – 39 years old
Soil: stony/sandy with good drainage
- Drink now or keep for up to 12 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
The Los Tollos vineyard is located in Villamediana de Iregua, sitting at 430 meters above sea level right where la Rioja Alta meets La Rioja Oriental. Tucked away in its own beautiful landscape, away from any development, this is how vineyards used to be planted. The soil is mostly sandy loam, it drains well and doesn't have much organic matter which makes it ideal for vines. Soils of this type couldn't be cultivated with any other crop.
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 (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).
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 200 litres are placed in a special breathable container which allows the wine to mature without adding any oak flavours. 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.
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 one of their vineyards achieving the venerated official title of Viñedo Singular (only 84 vineyards in La Rioja hold this title so far).
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.
Los Tollos, designated Viñedo Singular, is a very windy site in Villamediana de Iregua, planted on poor stony soils in 1982. Now in its third iteration, this is a brilliant single vineyard blend of Tempranillo and 2% Mazuelo and Malvasía Riojana from Roberto Monforte, Gorka Etxebarria and Juan Antonio Blanco. Elegant, chalky and refined, with subtle reduction, lovely focus and zip, granular tannins and dark berry fruit. 2023-32.
91 Points - Luis Gutiérrez Santo Domingo (Wine Advocate, Robert Parker)
2017 was a warm and challenging year, and the wines here are very transparent with those conditions. The 2017 Sínodo Los Tollos is ripe, with a dark profile of fruit, earthier and with less light than the 2018. There is a touch of rusticity, and the tannins are slightly dusty. It finishes quite dry. 853 bottles were filled in September 2018.