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Rioja Alavesa tasting notes

text and photographs © 2011 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Rioja Alavesa.

Bodegas Baigorri

UK Agent: Moreno. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

Baigorri, Barrel Fermented White Rioja 2006
40-45-year old vines, 95% Viura, 5% Malvasia. New French oak, and aged with battonage for eight months. Richly honeyed nose, lots of delicately spiced toasty aromas and Brazil nut, with a hint of apricot fruit. On the palate beautifully balanced: a fine, silky texture and delicious freshness, with a lemony core and cool melon and underripe pear fruit, with those buttery and nutty notes beneath. 91/100.

Baigorri, Rioja Crianza 2006
14 months in new French and American oak. 90% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha and Mazuelo. Very attractive cigar and tobacco notes, refined herbal notes, with a bright cherry and red berry fruit. Delicious palate, the black cherry fruit svelte and creamy and very plush, with delicious balance. 90/100.

Baigorri, Belus 2007
70% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo and 20% Garnacha aged six months in special toast barrels, to give a 'velvety' wine (Belus means velvet). Creamy and gamey nose, with some minerality and a touch of charry, grilled meat torrefaction. Very silky sweet fruit, masses of plush sweetness, pastille brightness of blackcurrant and black cherry, and terrific length. 92/100.

Baigorri, Garnacha 2008
40- 50-year-old vines, fermented in stainless steel and eight months in oak. Roasted, grilled meat quality from high toast oak and the nutty, sweet fruit. The palate has an intense cherry fruit, with good acidity retained and a nicely grippy finish, though perhaps oak a little overdone against a slightly jammy sweetness of fruit. 88-89/100.

Baigorri, Rioja Reserva 2005
100% Tempranillo, fermented in oak vats and eighteen months in French oak. More herbal and spice notes, touches of clove and nutty nuts. Tight, muscular, quite refined fruit, lots of structure here and the oak is savoury and supportive, allowing fruit and tannins to give grip. Nice balance, in a savoury, reserved style. Quite lean, but beautifully balanced. 90-91/100.

Baigorri de Garage 2005
Yes, a 'garagiste' wine from 60- 70-year old vineyards, 100% Tempranillo, one vine per bottle. It is fermented in oak vats and then into new French oak for 18 months. A substantial amount of juice is bled-off to make the rosé, then the vats topped up with more fruit to add concentration. Lovely blood-streaked, meaty concentration of fruit with deep-set red plum and lightly balsamic notes, but lots of plush elegant fruit. The palate is hugely opulent and deep, with those charry, meaty notes wreathed in smokiness. Lovely plushness and sweetness, but the silky tannins and the tobacco-infused herbal edges melding into cherry acidity. Beautifully balanced, plush and modern, but authentic too. 94/100.

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