Monday, December 12, 2022

Meet the producer: Las Cepas, Rioja, Spain

An organic vineyard in Rioja, third generation of the family business. Overall Las Cepas plant 52 hectares in deep limestone soils. We had a chance to meet the producer at the 2022 online fair brilliantly organized by Onvinum, a new Spanish platform to bring together producers, buyers and educators. Here below my tasting notes for some of their wines.

Costalarbol white 2021
100% white Maturana

A not-so-common grape produced a fresh wine with apple notes that reveals a finely balanced finish. Moderately complex and long.
I paired it with raw spinach and seared sea bass.
Score 86

Salad of spinach and seared sea bass

Chinese-style fish head
Costalarbol red
100% Graciano grapes. 
It is a vigorous, I would say impetuous wine, it feels like an impatient teenager in the mouth. Young tannins next to red fruit, with moderate length. 

Good quality/price ratio. I paired with Chinese-style fish head, the slight spiciness might have called for a smoother wine but if fact it went pretty well with the lively Graciano, perhaps because the tannins matched the succulent sauce of the fish. I then killed off my glass with French Camembert cheese. 
Score 86

Garnacha 100%
Vines that are up to  one-hundred-year-old for this wine of great character made with garnacha grapes. A smooth velvety wine, with good complexity, and considerable length.
Score 92

Egg noodles with peppers and pakchoi

Boca Chancla Crianza 2019
Tempranillo 100%
These vines are the oldest, they go from 40 all the way up to 100-year-old.
A smooth wine with elegance and moderate complexity. Ready with limited potential in the bottle. Paired with fresh egg noodles stirred with peppers and pakchoi.
Score 90

Rebuzno 2020
Maturana 100% (in Spanish it means "donkey")

Made with Maturana grapes, an old grape variety that was an icon of the Rioja countryside in olden days. It was later almost forgotten to the point it came close to risk of extinction, like donkeys! And now resurrected for an organic wine that is full bodied, big, almost opulent I would say. Can be paired with meat, of course, but also with a rich pasta sauce and, why not, stir-fried or baked fish.
Score 92

Here is a map in case you are in the region and want to visit Las Cepas, click to enlarge.

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