Classic Rioja from selected vineyards in Rioja Alta
Here is another terrific bargain and once again, it follows my principle of finding a well-respected producer and “drilling down” to their entry-level, value-driven wines. It never fails — the quality of the more expensive wines filters right on down to the daily drinkers! The art and effort are in knowing where to drill down to find the hidden gems…
The 2017 Piedra Rioja Joven Tinto is produced for Boutinot Wines, an import group based out of London that specializes in connecting European winemakers with independent retailers in the U.S. They team up with some of the best of Europe in order to produce private label wines that are always some of the best buys.
Now for the really interesting part — the wine is produced by none other than Bodegas Carlos Serres, one of our favorite producers in Haro, Rioja Alta!
Family owned and operated for more than 100 years
Bodegas Carlos Serres has a long and detailed history in Rioja. The estate’s founder, Charles (Carlos) Serres, was born and raised in Orleans, France, and moved to Rioja in the late 1800s during the phylloxera crisis. He settled into the small town of Haro in the northwestern part of Rioja Alta and in 1896, he founded Bodegas Carlos Serres. His winery was the first in the region to successfully export wines to France, to Great Britain. and shortly thereafter, to the United States.
Today, the property is still entirely family owned and operated — one of the very few in the region able to claim family ownership for more than one hundred years!
Big quality for a tiny price
In the glass, the 2017 Vega Piedra is super soft, approachable and even more polished than the 2016 release. The earthy and comforting aromatics that we all love with Rioja lead to a palate of generous ripe berry fruit, along with nice hints of brown spice and cigar box. The medium-bodied palate is lifted and plummy, with a long juicy finish. A lot of the nuance comes from aging in both French and American oak — quite rare for a wine at this bargain price! There’s no new oak used — only well-used, practically neutral barrels that give the wine a lush roundness that stainless steel aging just can’t produce.
Enjoy this with all of the lighter fare of summer, especially chicken and pork from the grill.
2016 Vega Piedra Rioja TintoHaro, Rioja Alta, Spain
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