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Friday, January 18, 2013
Baigorri Crianza and Reserva
Baigorri Tempranillo Crianza 2008, La Rioja, 14.5%, €11.40 in the bodega at Samaniego.
Baigorri Tempranillo Reserva 2006, La Rioja, 14.0%, €18.66 in the bodega at Samaniego.
Happy day: the 12th June 2012. That was the day I pulled into the winery of Baigorri, its glass cube rising above but not dominating the nearby medieval village of Samaniego in La Rioja, and left with some really lovely wines, including these two.
We rang the bell and Pilar met us at the door and let us in. We were too late for the tour but had a lovely chat with the young lady who had polished off her English on the Clash Road in Little Island (Cork).
I was amazed at the stunning winery, designed and built by the architect Inaki Aspiazu, creating an unmissable yet compatible landmark. The cube is just the top of a seven storey structure that carries on underneath the surface and means that virtually every movement of the wine making process owes much to gravity.
And the results in the bottles are brilliant too.
Colour is dark red and there are intense aromas of red fruits, regularly found with Tempranillo in this region.
But the palate is something else, above expectations. Full of fruit flavours but very rounded, quite sophisticated. A really well made wine with a persistent finish.
Probably the best value of the wines that I bought here and very highly recommended.
The Reserva is another excellent wine but is pretty expensive. If I were stuck for money and in the bodega again, I’d probably buy two Crianza rather than one Reserva!
There are good reasons for the big price difference. It has been a good deal longer in the process, including longer in oak. The grapes are picked from very old vines, manually selected and de-stalked before being fermented in French oak.
It is one hundred per cent Tempranillo whereas the Crianza is a blend of 90% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha and 5% indigenous varieties.
The colour is a dark ruby red. The nose is rich with ripe fruit and hints of spice and leather. On the palate it is pleasant, warm and fruity, slightly spicy, with a supple texture drawn from the tannins and the oak, rounded and so well balanced with a persistent dry finish. Another in the very highly recommended category.
Friday, January 11, 2013
A twinning proposition: Timoleague and Samaniego
|Timoleague (above) and Samaniego|
Let us twin the ancient villages of Timoleague (West Cork) and Samaniego (La Rioja). Maybe I can’t pull that off but I sure can get Ummera and Baigorri together. Ummera is a famous state of the art smokehouse in Timoleague while Baigorri is a renowned state of the art winery in La Rioja.
Indeed, I have already brought them together, stumbling on a fantastic wine food pairing, as an unforeseen postscript when I recently opened a bottle of Baigorri Garnacha that I had purchased in Samaniego last summer.
Approaching the end of this bottle, I remembered that I had a few slices of the fantastic Ummera smoked duck to be finished off. Thought to myself that they might make a match.
For once, heaven agreed with me. Chewed a sliver of the duck and added a little wine. Eureka! The "chemistry" revealed depths of smoky flavour, hitherto unsuspected. Amazingly, products from two ancient villages met on my palate and turned it into a flavour filled paradise.
Baigorri Garnacha, Rioja 2009, 14.5%, €19.54 at the winery in Haro.
Baigorri tend to experiment a bit and they even have a “garage” wine. This Garnacha has been influenced by the winemakers, a vin de l'auteur they call it. A well made wine for sure and highly recommended (very highly recommended if you add the smoked duck!) but a little pricey in comparison with their excellent Tempranillo Reserva.
Quite a dry introduction and then a bubbly rush of fruits. A flavoursome wine then with a stirring persistence. It has a rich red colour with calm fruity aromas, especially plum, plus hints of spice. Overall, the experience in the mouth echoes that of the bouquet.