La Antigua Clasico Reserva
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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. The Reserva, which Alberto makes only in the best vintages, is also unique in that it relies on a Garnacha-dominant blend. The Garnacha at La Antigua is comprised of some of the oldest vines of heirloom-clone Garnacha in all of Rioja. Aged more like a Gran Reserva with 6 years spent in barrel, the Antigua Clasico Reserva is a showcase of the elegant, silky minerality that Alberto is able to express from this special place.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
A classic style Rioja produced from high elevation vineyards located in the Sierra de la Demanda area of the Rioja appellation. Old vines of Garnacha planted since 1940. Vines are tended in mineral soils of red silica, which are very unique and rare in Rioja.
2010 91VM, 92+VFTC, 2008 94JS
60% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano. Vines planted from 1940 to 1955. Tended in red silica sandy soil at 700 m (2,296 ft) elevation
This wine pairs well with braised meats, roasted mushrooms, stewed beef, duck and game.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING:
72 months in 60% French and 40% American oak barrels
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE:
Vines planted from 1940 to 1955. Tended in sandy, limestone soil and red silica at 700 m (2,296 ft) elevation. The average temperature during the April to October growing season is 22C (71.6F). Annual rainfall: 210 mm (8.3 in).
Deep red. Lively smoke- and spice-accented cherry and red berry aromas are complemented by floral oil, game and pipe tobacco flourishes. Seamless and focused on the palate, offering juicy raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that become sweeter with air. Shows very good energy and suave floral character on a long, fruit-driven finish that's given shape by well-integrated tannins. -- Josh Raynolds