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Field Notes: Spain Day 1 [RIOJA]


A photoblog from Rob's recent visit to Spain & Madeira 

First tasting of the day at Valenciso with Diego and Luis. '09 Valenciso the business - going to grab some mags - and then there were two surprises: a single vineyard, young vine, value release called Cabama and an extraordinary 2005 Rioja that was aged for four years in concrete tank and four years in neutral oak before being bottled. It's called 'Ten Years Later' (in Spanish) We'll have only 100 bottles and it's something else. Luis Valentin is such a font of knowledge. Fascinating to pick his brains on the history of the region.

Exopto's Mimbreda vineyard. Rioja, Sonsierra (Alto).

Rioja Alta grower Tom Puyaubert of Exopto walks off in to the sunset.

Then turns around. A lot of debate in Rioja right now with Artardi leaving the DO and many producers and some writers calling for a classification system (a mistake in my opinion) or the right to be able to label the wine according to the village or vineyard of origin (obviously a good idea). Meanwhile Exopto and 7 other producers have formed an association of first gen growers that goes under the name of Rioja 'n' Roll - they aim to show the wine world that there is plenty of interesting, quality, place driven Rioja being produced in the region.

One of Tom's sites that he would like to bottle separately under its vineyard name. Old vine garnacha grown at 500mt (very high in Rioja for Garnacha) in Abalos.

And here he is drawing shot of Edrina, a local liqueur, to end the tasting. I need a local liqueur like I need a hole in my head, but what the hell.

Tom Puyaubert had some pruning to do! This is one of the ancient garnacha vines in Carrapecina, the site mentioned above.

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