Stephen Tanzer reviews new vintages of Viñedos y Bodegas Sierra Cantabria

Amancio 97 pts
15 August, 2014
Viñedos y Bodegas Sierra Cantabria gets on the podium of the ‘Guide Proensa’ with 100 points to ‘La Nieta 2012’ and ‘Amancio 2011’
26 November, 2014
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The family Eguren confirms its leadership on the podium of the wineries in Spain by  including a large number of wines among the best tasted by International Wine Cellar

The critic highlights the versatility of the Riojan winemakers in offering a wide range of outstanding wines

The American Wine critic, Stephen Tanzer, editor and Publisher of the bimonthly International Wine Cellar, reviews new vintages of Viñedos y Bodegas Sierra Cantabria.
The projects of the Riojan familiy Eguren in the D.O.C. Rioja and the D.O. Toro have been welcomed one year more by the American critic.

Viñedos de Paganos

2011 La Nieta – Rioja ($145) (all tempranillo; fermented in large oak casks and raised in new French oak for 18 months): Inky purple. Heady aromas of candied dark berries, incense and licorice are complicated by vanilla, lavender and five-spice powder. Lush, deeply flavored and broad, offering deep black and blue fruit flavors and an exotic floral pastille nuance. Finishes smooth, spicy and extremely long, with resonating sweetness, a hint of licorice and even tannins. 93

2010 El Puntido – Rioja ($58) Inky ruby. Exotic, assertively perfumed dark berry and floral oil aromas are complemented by allspice, vanilla and smoky minerals. Ripe yet energetic blackberry, cassis and cherry compote flavors show a sexy vanillin oak influence but have the depth to handle it. Finishes sappy and very long, with repeating notes of dark berry liqueur and floral pastilles. In the context of flamboyant, modern-style Riojas this is a superb value. 93

Señorio de San Vicente

2010 Tempranillo – Rioja ($58) (100% tempranillo peluda): Opaque ruby. Explosive aromas of black raspberry, blueberry, mocha, spice and violet, with a smoky nuance gaining strength in the glass. Sweet, sappy and expansive, offering concentrated red and dark berry, bitter chocolate and floral pastille flavors and a touch of sweet vanilla. Lively acidity gives lift and focus to the highly aromatic, gently tannic, very long finish. 93

Sierra Cantabria

2005 Sierra Cantabria Gran Reserva – Rioja ($38) (all old-vines tempranillo; aged for two years in American oak and bottled without filtration): Dark red. Fresh cherry and dark berry aromas are complicated by vanilla and smoky Indian spices. Supple and precise on the palate, offering bitter cherry and blackberry flavors and an invigorating jolt of peppery spices. Closes seamless, minerally and long, with a hint of bitter chocolate and no obvious tannins. This is delicious now. 93

Viñedos Sierra Cantabria

2012 Sierra Cantabria Colección Privada Rioja ($49) (100% old-vines tempranillo; aged for 18 months in a 50/50 mix of new French and American oak): Bright violet color. Explosive black raspberry, cherry and vanilla qualities on the seductively perfumed nose. Fleshy and expansive, offering plush red and dark berry liqueur flavors and a suave note of candied rose. Picks up spiciness and smokiness with air and finishes on a sweet dark berry note, with excellent thrust and floral persistence. 93

2011 Finca El Bosque Rioja ($145) (100% tempranillo; aged in new French and central European oak barrels for 18 months): Inky purple. Fresh blueberry, mulberry and cassis on the nose, with a smoky topnote and a hint of vanilla. Broad, sappy and concentrated, with dark fruit flavors complemented by Indian spices, mocha and bitter chocolate. This rich, deep, lively wine finishes spicy and very long, with a kick of peppery spices and soft tannins coming in slowly. 94

2010 Amancio – Rioja($145) (100% tempranillo; fermented in large French oak vats, with malo and two years of aging in new French oak barrels): Inky ruby. Exotic, flamboyantly perfumed dark berry preserve and floral pastille aromas, with intense Indian spice and incense accents. Ripe and fleshy but energetic on the palate, with expansive blackberry, cassis and cherry-vanilla flavors delivering superb depth and clarity. Finishes sappy and extremely long, with a whiplash of dark berry fruit and velvety, harmonious tannins. 94

Teso La Monja

2012 Romanico Toro ($17) (went through malolactic fermentation and six months of aging in all new French oak): Brilliant ruby. Expansive, highly perfumed aromas of black and blue fruits, allspice, vanilla and woodsmoke. Spicy and seamless on the palate, offering sweet boysenberry and cherry compote flavors given bite by a suggestion of black pepper. A sexy floral note comes up on the finish, which hangs on with excellent focus and persistence. 91

2012 Almirez Toro($28) (malo in small oak barrels followed by aging in French oak, one-third of it new, for 12 months): Opaque purple. Smoky blueberry and cherry compote aromas pick up a peppery nuance with air, along with a subtle mocha quality. Fleshy and seamless on the palate, offering sweet, concentrated black and blue fruit flavors and a touch of lavender pastille. Spreads out nicely on the juicy, penetrating finish, which is framed by silky, slow-building tannins. 92

2012 Victorino Toro ($63) (malo and aging in new French oak for 18 months): Inky ruby. Fragrant black and blue fruit aromas are complemented by cola, coffee and violet. Stains the palate with intense boysenberry, floral pastille and vanilla flavors, with a spine of juicy acidity adding lift. Supple tannins build slowly on the finish, which lingers with superb tenacity and seductive floral character.93

2012 Alabaster Toro ($221) (malo and 18 months of aging in small, new French oak barrels): Bright purple. Deeply scented spice- and smoke-accented aromas of ripe cherries, boysenberry and cassis, lifted by a suave floral element. Shows impressive depth and vivacity to its black and blue fruit liqueur flavors sharpened by juicy acidity; a smoky mineral quality adds another element. Supple, harmonious tannins come on late, adding focus to the sweet, strikingly long, mineral-driven finish. 95

Viñedos y Bodegas Sierra Cantabria project

Five generations of winemakers with roots in San Vicente de la Sonsierra have woven a long history of complicity between man and the vineyard to extract the virtues of a single variety, Tempranillo, focused on achieving the purest wine which transmits terroir.

The Eguren family, generation by generation since 1870, has been focused on the viticulture and the making and ageing of wine in privilege terroirs of La Rioja, Toro y Castilla. Keeping alive the tradition inherited from parents and adapting it to the state-of-the art technologies, the Eguren family has made a worldwide name thanks to the wines produced in its five wineries –Sierra Cantabria, Señorío de San Vicente and Viñedos de Páganos in Rioja; Bodega Teso La Monja in Toro and Dominio de Eguren under Vinos de la Tierra-.

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