Rioja Alegre Valgañon, Spain 2012

Negre Valganon bottle.jpg
Negre Valganon bottle.jpg

Rioja Alegre Valgañon, Spain 2012

16.95

Are you a fan of old-fashioned Rioja or modern Spanish reds? In other words, are you a mod or a Rioja? Boom! I've been waiting to use that joke for ages and it was worth the wait, I'm sure you'll agree! Here's a wine that straddles that divide, with the layered complexities of traditional, barrel-aged Rioja embedded in a velvety texture and clean, glossy fruit. 

The nose is brimming with all manner of dark fruits, molten blackcurrants, poached damsons, creamed blueberries, topped with vanilla and coconut, all vying for your attention, like crazed fans holding out their autograph books. It's a raucous riot of aromas.

The palate settles down to something altogether more serious and refined, offering layers of old school charm and 'on trend' minerality. If you like Pomerol, you will love the bold statement this wine makes. Drink it now with a chargrilled churrasco or tuck it away for 5 years for a more nuanced experience, as it will open up considerably between now and 2020.

Eva Valgañón and Oscar Alegre, after whom the wine is named, met while working as oenology students in Italy, taking inspiration from visits to Giuseppe Rinaldi, Giacomo Conterno and Montevertine. The common theme at each of those estates is subtlety over power and they have attempted to bring that philosophy to La Rioja. They have a little way to go yet, because they are working in a hotter climate and it's harder to harness so much ripeness and concentration, but you can taste the good intentions, even if the power is still very much in evidence.

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