93/100 Punkte Robert Parker August 2019 The most approachable of the reds is the young 2018 Les Crestes, produced with fruit from their younger vines. The fact that this is mostly Garnacha also adds to the (relative) lightness and drinkability in a cool-ish year like 2018, and it has more red fruit and fantastic freshness, with fine tannins and very integrated oak. It was bottled in June 2019 after eight months in French oak barrels.
93/100 Punkte James Suckling July 2019 This has a deep and dark center palate of ripe yet fresh fruit and lots of spices and smoked meat. Medium to full body. Polished and chewy tannins. Yet focused and vivid. Needs two or three years of bottle age. But all there. Try after 2021.
92/100 Punkte Wine Spectator Mar 31, 2018 Mountain herb and loamy earth notes frame the core of black cherry, espresso and mineral flavors in this focused red. The texture is plush yet fresh, with tangerine acidity and light, firm tannins. Carignan and Garnacha. Drink now through 2025.
92/100 Punkte Vinous April 2019 Opaque ruby. Oak-spiced black/blue fruit scents are complemented by suggestions of candied licorice and mocha. Concentrated and seamless on the palate, offering plush blueberry, cherry-cola and fruitcake flavors that are underscored by a building peppery nuance. Finishes smooth and broad, with harmonious tannins, a hint of smokiness and strong, dark fruit-driven persistence.
92/100 Punkte Robert Parker June 2019 A varietal Garnacha from Riva de Tereso, the 2017 La Dula comes from a small 80-year-old plot planted in 1944, so production is extremely low. It's bottled unoaked and matured in amphorae to see what the pure grape delivers. It's fruit-driven and shows some ripeness from a warm and dry year. This tends to have very high acidity, so the grapes are picked late to achieve good ripeness. It fermented in tinaja (amphorae), where it's kept for a few months and then is bottled early. There are perfumed notes, and something herbal/wild that I like. The palate reveals fine-grained tannins and clean flavors. Only 670 bottles produced. It was bottled in November 2018.
93/100 Punkte Vinous Feb 2019 Brilliant ruby-red. An exotically perfumed, expansive bouquet evokes ripe red and blue fruits, cherry liqueur, vanilla and pipe tobacco, energized by a smoky mineral overtone. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering sweet, concentrated boysenberry, spicecake and mocha flavors that are given spine and lift by a core of juicy acidity. Rich yet energetic in style, displaying excellent finishing clarity, harmonious tannins and a lingering licorice note.
94/100 Punkte Robert Parker Aug 2016 The Pujanza 2013 Norte is Tempranillo cropped from the Finca Norte vineyard. It's really called San Román, but they couldn't use that name; the nickname people apply to it is north, because of the strong north winds that make it very healthy and somehow cool. It's a 2.7-hectare plot on clay and limestone soils, where the limestone mother rock is at some 50 centimeters from the surface. The vineyard is north-facing and located at an altitude of 720 meters. Fermentation was in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts, the same as malolactic. There are notes of beef blood intermixed with wild red acid berries and flowers, with good freshness. The upbringing was 14 months in French barriques. The palate is extremely fresh, but combining high acidity with incredible power. There is less difference in the vintages in this Norte than in the Finca Valdepoleo, here it feels like the vineyard-besides being smaller-is more consistent. The character of the p
94+/100 Robert Parker Aug 2016 The 2014 Norte comes from a warmer and riper vintage than the previous one, but curiously enough, the wine had higher acidity and lower pH. The explanation from Carlos San Pedro is that 2014 is a very complete and balanced vintage, with good ripeness and very good acidity. It fermented in stainless steel and matured in French barrels for some 14 months. This is very different from the 2013, and as I've seen with other wines from the year, the nose shows higher ripeness and darker fruit aromas. The palate shows fresher and the liveliness of a cooler, northeast-facing vineyard, where the influence of the north wind is very intense at 720 meters altitude. I think this will age nicely. In the long run, I believe the two vintages are of similar quality; though perhaps this 2014 will prove to be a better, more complete wine, hence the + on the score.
93/100 Punkte Robert Parker June 2019 The single-vineyard red 2016 Camino de Santa Cruz is a wine she wanted to call Rivas de Tereso, but she was not allowed, so she named it after the plot where the grapes grow. It's an aromatic red with intense aromas of violets and the hallmark signature of 2016, and has a surplus of minerality because of the high limestone content of the soils, with some Mediterranean undertones. With time in the glass, it reveals some classical Rioja notes of forest floor, truffle and mushrooms. It fermented in 300-liter amphorae and matured in well-seasoned, neutral 500-liter oak barrels for 12 months. The medium-bodied palate is elegant, and the tannins are round and make it very pleasant and approachable.
94/100 Punkte Robert Parker December 2018 It felt like the 2015 El Terroir was more austere than the 2014, even if the year was more generous, especially on the palate, where the wine shows strong minerality. It's more telluric than 2014, a slightly darker shade of blue, and it opens up with time in the glass. This wine has achieved a very good level, with a rare combination of power and elegance, especially in this 2015. 26,315 bottles were filled in May 2017.
91/100 Punkte Robert Parker June 2019 There is a new red from the village of Villabuena de Álava, a warmer place that tends to deliver more Mediterranean wines than the cooler Rivas de Tereso, and the wines are gentler and rounder, with a touch of aromatic herbs. The 2016 Raposo is the first vintage produced from some old plots planted with old vines, Tempranillo with intense flavors (the old vines have other grapes, but they represent a very small percentage) fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in 3,000-liter oak vats for some 12 months.
92/100 Punkte Vinous Feb 2019 (raised in large, used French oak barrels) Deep, lurid ruby color. An expansive, highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red fruits, baking spices, tobacco and potpourri and smoky minerals, with a hint of licorice in the background. Sweet, seamless and penetrating on the palate, offering concentrated raspberry, cherry-cola and spicecake flavors that are underscored by a vein of juicy acidity. Smooth, even tannins build slowly on the impressively long finish, which strongly echoes the red fruit and floral notes.
93/100 Punkte James Suckling August 2018 Plenty of spicy saffron and clove aromas hover over ripe red plums and mulberries. The palate has nice fruit-focus and depth with good tannin-weight and detail. Drink or hold.
92+/100 Punkte Robert Parker Feb 2018 The red 2015 Rivas de Tereso will be the last vintage with that name (the name of the village where the majority of vineyards are located). It will be called Camino de Santa Cruz from the 2016 vintage onward. This was the first vineyard-designated wine, from very shallow soils at high altitude. It fermented in amphorae to preserve freshness and then aged in 500-liter oak barrels for one year. There is good ripeness of fruit with an earthy and mineral touch plus aromas of herbs and wild flowers, a medium-bodied palate with dusty, chalky tannins and a very tasty finish.
93/100 Punkte James Suckling July 2017 Assertive and convincing style with black fruit aromas and flavors in a very slick, layered and flavoursome palate. Very impressive balance and depth. Long, smooth tannins with peppery edges. Powerful and delicious. Best from 2020.
94/100 Punkte Robert Parker December 2018 The 2014 El Terroir has a little more depth and complexity than the previous year, even if both vintages were cold and rainy, but this 2014 seems to have more complexity, depth and nuance. It's medium bodied with fine-grained tannins and has very good balance. This cuvée seems to be improving vintage after vintage, they keep working their same vineyards, they keep improving their knowledge, and they are more experienced. The barrels are older and the integration is better. This is earthier and a little wilder than La Dama.
94/100 Punkte Robert Parker, Feb 2019 The 2015 Lacima is really impressive. It's a serious, balsamic and reticent red with a faithful expression of rocks through its blend of 70% Mencía with 20% Brancellao and 5% each Mouratón and Sousón. The grapes were very healthy, and the crop was quite small and concentrated. It fermented with natural yeasts in open-top 500-liter French oak vats and had a long élevage of 17 months in used barriques followed by no less than 14 months in bottle before it was released. It combines power with elegance, and it has concentration and nuance and feels quite young and lively. It's tasty, clean and long, and it seems to have good balance and all that is needed for a long and positive development in bottle. This has to be one of the finest vintages of Lacima so far.
94+/100 Punkte Robert Parker June 2019 The 2015 San Vicente was produced with 18 hectares of Tempranillo Peludo, a particular strain of Tempranillo planted from a massal selection in 1985 in the village of San Vicente de la Sonsierra. The destemmed grapes fermented in French oak vats, and the wine matured in new oak barrels (90% French, 10% American) for 20 months. This really reminds me of the initial vintages of this wine, 1991 and 1994, but with the wisdom of the older vines, it feels very integrated and compact, in line with the 2005. It's a serious and balanced wine that's harmonious and has incipient complexity, with aromatic herbs and spices and a mixture of red and black fruit. It's elegant and medium-bodied, with fine-grained tannins, good grip and a remarkable finish. This has oak, but it feels quite integrated. It has the stuffing and balance to develop nicely in bottle. 2015 is behaving much better than expected.
94/100 Punkte Vinous Feb 2019 (raised in 90% French and 10% American oak barrels, all new, for two years) Youthful violet color. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes oak-spiced dark berries, potpourri, vanilla and incense, along with a smoky mineral overtone. Sappy, plush and seamless on the palate, offering deeply concentrated raspberry, boysenberry and spicecake flavors that deepen steadily on the back half. The impressively long, spice-tinged finish displays sneaky tannins, outstanding clarity and an echo of candied rose.
91/100 Punkte Robert Parker August 2016 I also tasted the 2014 Finca Valdepoleo, from a riper and warmer vintage than 2013. It also fermented in stainless steel and was raised in French oak for 14 months. This vineyard has a lot of clay and can give fruit-forward grapes in warmer years. The nose is ripe, with black fruit and feels a bit heady, with some spicy notes. As I've seen with other 2014s, the palate feels fresher than the nose, with a fine thread of acidity going through the core. This is an accessible, ripe Rioja. This wine will be released in April 2017.
94/100 Punkte James Suckling July 2017 Tight and linear wine with blackberry, blueberry and mineral character. Medium to full body, and stone and slate undertones to the bright fruit. Bright acidity. Drink now.
94/100 Punkte Robert Parker August 2019 They didn't produce this wine in 2010, so I tasted the 2011 Serral del Vell from a warm and dry year, which is reflected in the wine. It is slightly more evolved and a little more oxidative, with diesel-like and camphor aromas, keeping the verticality, austerity and minerality typical of this vineyard. It has great complexity and pungent flavors and a long, mineral finish. 15,000 bottles produced.