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Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Lopez de Haro. The Classica Collection
Lopez de Haro are based a short drive east of Haro, a historic wine town in Rioja. You’ll also hear La Rioja used but that refers to the administrative area rather than the wine region.
Wine has been made here for over 2,000 years. While Haro may not trip off the lips, as would St Emilion for example, it is still a hive of activity and, with so many bodegas there, it will drive your Sat-Nav crazy, not to mention the driver!
However, even with Sat-Nav Susie confused, it is very easy to find an interesting bodega, almost by chance. I certainly enjoyed my visits to Bodegas Lopez de Heredia/Tondonia with their old timber buildings and modern bar and, across the road at Bodegas la Rioja Alta, well known for their Arana and Ardanza reds.
For all that the bodegas and wine activity, Haro is a small enough town with a population of around 12,000 people. The completion of the train station in 1880 led to the concentration of wineries here. When very few European cities had electricity, Haro (and Jerez) had it. In the way that every street in France seems to have a pharmacy, every street in Haro then had a bank.
Aside from the practical benefits of railway and electricity (and banks), the town also benefits from the soil of the region, a combination of soil and clay that deliver complexity, according to the Finest Wines of Rioja, a recommended book that concentrates on the top producers not alone in Rioja but in NW Spain.
For more on Haro, and Rioja in general, you could do worse than get your hands on the easy-reading The Wine Regions of Rioja by Ana Fabiano. And for more on its wines, why not start with this excellent trio, new to the Findlater portfolio and all available at Bradley’s of Cork. Good value too.
Lopez de Hara Rosada Rioja (DO) 2017, 13.5%, €14.95, Bradley’s Cork.
This rosada is a blend of Garnacha and Viura (the Riojan white grape) picked from low producing old vines in Rioja Alta and like the other two here is part of their Classica Collection.
Colour is a clean pale salmon. Red fruits, and banana notes, on the nose, floral notes too. There is an unexpected depth of flavour on the palate with a touch of sweetness, a pleasant mouthfeel, well balanced, fresh and lively and a lip-smacking finish. Highly Recommended.
Lopez de Hara Rioja blanco (DO) 2017, 12.5%, €14.95, Bradley’s Cork.
The main grape is Viura (also known elsewhere in Spain as Macabeu), again from old vines. There is a small percentage of other local grapes blended in and the wine is matured for 3 months in French oak barrels.
Colour is a pale straw, light and bright. Ripe fruits feature on the complex nose. Palate is amazingly fresh, edgy fruit and tart acidity combine all the way to a long finalé. Subtly oaked with a lip-smacking farewell, this wine is a steal and Highly Recommended.
Lopez de Hara Rioja Crianza (DO) 2015, 13.5%, €14.95, Bradley’s Cork.
From old vines, in a privileged location between the River Ebro and the Sierra de Tolono, comes this crianza, mainly Tempranillo but with Garnacha and Graciano also in the mix. It has spent 18 months in French and American oak.
Colour is a dark cherry. Aromas of ripe red fruit, liquorice, and vanilla from the oak. Warm and rich with a soft mouthfeel, tannins silky (little grip), hugely impressive on the palate, elegant and accessible through to the finish. No wonder Decanter put this multi-award winner in its Top 50 Best Buy Rioja in 2016. This skilful harmonious combination of fruit and wood is Very Highly Recommended and, by the way, great value as well.