Refreshing Rioja Blanco With a Strong Value Proposition

Today’s Story: Finca Allende

Finca Allende was established in 1986 by Miguel Ángel de Gregorio in the hilltop town of Briones in the Rioja Alta region of Spain. Allende’s home, the Ibarra Palace, is a mansion built in 1675 for Don Pedro Ibarra and it’s situated amongst hillside vineyards that capture both Mediterranean and Atlantic influences in a unique and diverse terroir. Allende operates in three vineyards, each with their own microclimate and soil types to enhance various characters of the winegrowing process: Mártires (planted in 1970 in clay soil), El Calvario (planted in 1945 in stony/gravelly soils), and Aurus (60 year average vine age in clay and deep gravel soils). In caring for these vineyards, Allende refuses to use herbicides or synthetic chemicals and practices more traditional and manual farming (like plowing most vines with mules). All fruit is hand-harvested, hand-sorted three times, and manually punched down. Long aging in both barrel and bottle help guide the wines into the “Allende style” which is often fully-rounded, fuller bodied, and well-structured.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Rioja Blanco

95% Viura, 5% Malvasia; 13.5% ABV

The 2015 Rioja Blanco is transparent medium to deep gold in color. This is a lovely wine on the nose, showcasing aromas of lemon zest, peach, juicy pear, golden apple, honeysuckle, white truffle, dill, and vanilla cream. Moving onto the palate, I get notes of honeydew, lime zest, grapefruit, ripe pear, white florals, mild green herbs, exotic white spice, and almond. This is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, a fully-rounded and somewhat oily mouthfeel, and a long refreshing finish.

Price: $30. I think this is a very nice value wine, and to be honest I’ve found quite a few Riojas and Rioja Blancos that can be. This seems to be drinking incredibly well right now and I see it being at a great point for at least a few more years.

Gorgeous Rioja Blanco

Today’s Story: R. López de Heredia

I previously wrote about R. López de Heredia, one of my favorite producers in Rioja, when I reviewed the 2006 Viña Tondonia Reserva in One of My Favorite Rioja Producers Does It Again. LdH is a family-run winery established in 1877 by Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta after he fell in love with the Rioja Alta region, particularly the area of its capital Haro. All of the fruit sourced for these wines is estate-owned, a pathway they started following early on when Don Rafael realized it was the surest way to ensure impeccable quality of his vineyards, fruit, and wines. All harvesting is accomplished solely by hand and the fruit is treated very delicately in baskets made at the winery’s cooperage. In the cellar, the López de Heredia family follows traditional winemaking methods passed down from generation to generation.

Today’s Wine: 2008 Viña Tondonia Reserva Blanco

90% Viura, 10% Malvasía; 12.5% ABV

The 2008 Viña Tondonia Reserva Blanco is beautiful deep gold in color and transparent. The exquisite nose showcases aromas of peach, apricot, honeydew, chamomile, hazelnut, brioche, honey, and seashell, while the palate displays notes of lime zest, melon, orange marmalade, tropical citrus, white florals, toffee, almonds, and mineral. This wine is light- to medium-bodied with gorgeous high acidity and a plush, luxurious mouthfeel into a long finish.

Price: $65. Even though these are more expensive than their red counterparts (thanks to a smaller production) I find them to be just as superior a value for their gorgeous depth and complexity. Pair this with lobster, roasted chicken, or almonds.