La Antigua Clasico Crianza
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La Antigua Clasico is one of Alberto Orte’s most enduring history projects. Inspired by the style of winemaking that was popular in the first half of the 20th century, Alberto seeks to emphasize freshness and minerality, leading to potential for a long-lived wine. To that end, he has found old vine Garnacha, Tempranillo and Graciano in Sierra de la Demanda, south of the Ebro river in Rioja Alta. The northern facing, high-altitude vineyards experience cooler temperatures and less sunshine, resulting in grapes that ripen more slowly, showcasing flavors of greater balance and focus. Indeed – this area is one of the last to harvest in all of Western Europe! In addition to the cooler climate, La Antigua is a place where the parcels are extremely small and steep. This terrain is almost impossible to mechanize, and all vineyard work needs to be done by hand. Alberto has complete viticultural control over these vineyards, ensuring unity of purpose between the vineyard and the winery. The result is a wine of precision and elegance – fresh and beautiful to drink now, with enormous potential for longevity.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
This is a wine that harkens back to a style of farming and winemaking that had fallen out of fashion in Rioja – difficult and painstaking work that results in incredibly fresh, elegant wines. Using high altitude, north facing slopes, Antigua Clasico Crianza showcases the bright acidity and elegant minerality that make this terroir so special.
2012 92JS; 2012 91 VM; 2011 91JS; 2010 91IWC
70% Tempranillo, 20% Graciano, 10% Garnacha. Vines planted from 1940 to 1955. Tended in limestone and sandy soil at 568 m (1,865 ft) elevation.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING:
24 months in stainless steel tanks plus 24 months in 60% French and 40% American oak barrels
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE:
Sustainably grown vines planted from 1940 to 1955. Tended in sandy and limestone soil at 568 m (1,865ft) elevation.
Brilliant ruby. Lively aromas of fresh, spice-tinged red and dark berries and candied flowers are complemented by suggestions of vanilla and woodsmoke. Juicy and energetic on the palate, offering appealingly sweet black raspberry and rose pastille flavors that deepen slowly as the wine opens up. Gentle, slow-building tannins shape a smooth, persistent finish that strongly echoes the floral note. -- Josh Raynolds.