2018 Bodegas Ortega Ezquerro, Tempranillo, Tinto, Rioja, Spain

Very fruity with intense colour and dark red fruits, violets and liquorice. Lively fruity and with floral notes, this is quite full bodied and very soft.

Grape Variety: 90% Tempranillo 10% Viura

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2018 Bodegas Ortega Ezquerro, Tempranillo, Tinto, Rioja, Spain

Tasting Note

Very fruity with intense colour and dark red fruits, violets and liquorice. Lively fruity and with floral notes, this is quite full bodied and very soft.

Food Pairing

Cold starters, pasta, pizza, poultry and grilled red meat.

Producer Info

Based in the village of Tudelilla in the Rioja Baja area, this bodega was founded by Quintin Ortega, a local cooper in 1896. It is now run by his great grandson Carmelo Ortega, assisted by winemaker David Bastida. The ancient vines (some original plantings made by Quintin) are goblet pruned and only organic fertilisers are used. All harvesting is by hand and traditional winemaking techniques are followed, using a mixture of French and American oak barrels for ageing. The soils of Tudelilla are calcerous clay and are of poor fertility, making them ideal for fine wine production, but what makes the village stand out is the Pedriza, an area of around 700 hectares which is covered in large flat stones, similar to the galets found in Châteauneuf-du- Pâpe. These help control temperatures and moisture in the vineyards and combined with the ancient vines planted on these soils, give wines with a strong identity.

The story of Ortega Ezquerro begins with Quintín Ortega, who planted the family’s first vines back in the year 1896. At that stage, our founding father was a humble barrel-maker with ambitions, who as well as making barrels for the aging and shipping of wine, decided to go a step further by planting some vines. Later he refurbished an ancient wine cellar to turn it into a winery where he made and aged wine for his family.

Many years have passed down to the present day in which Quintín Ortega’s great-grandson, Carmelo Ortega, the current head of the family, also heads the winery and is responsible for leading it along the right path. Eager to evolve and improve, Carmelo has embarked on a new project with ambitious oenological objectives and a clearly defined goal, namely to give the wines from our Pedriza the value they deserve and to position the concept in the market, with the support of a solid modern brand that meets the quality expectations of the Designation of Origin area in which we find ourselves, without ever forgetting our origins as a “village wine”.

Regional Info

Rioja – the home of bright, berry-scented, barrel-aged red wines made from Tempranillo and Garnacha – is arguably Spain’s top wine region. It is certainly the most famous, rivaled only by Jerez. Located in northern Spain, Rioja’s vineyards trace the course of the Ebro River for roughly 60 miles (100km) between the towns of Haro and Alfaro.

The Rioja wine region is contained mostly within the La Rioja administrative region after which it is named (itself named after the Rio Oja river which flows through it), although its northernmost vineyards creep over into neighbouring Navarra and Pais Vasco. The region is demarcated less by political and administrative boundaries and more by geographical features, namely the Ebro and foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda and Sierra de Cantabria mountain ranges.

Rioja Baja is a sub-region of the Rioja wine region in northern Spain. It forms the largest portion of the region, and accounts for 40% of its wine output. It extends southeast of the provincial capital, Logrono, to the small town of Alfaro, and is housed mostly within the La Rioja autonomous community, although it creeps into Navarra in parts. Most of its vineyards are located south of the Ebro River.

Unlike its neighbours Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa, the Rioja Baja region has very dry and warm summers (temperatures of 95F/35C are not uncommon), a result of the influence of the Mediterranean Sea. The soils also differ significantly from those in its neighbours; the chalk content is minimal, with larger proportions of silt and alluvial components as well as ferrous-clay. Drought is also a real threat.

The low-altitude vineyards were once mostly planted with Garnacha vines, which were regarded as being best suited to the extreme conditions, producing wines high in alcohol but low in acidity and aroma profile. As these grapes routinely reached full ripeness, they were suitable for blending with the Tempranillo wines produced in Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. The aim was to add body rather than character to their cooler- climate wines. In the 1980s, however, many of these old Garnacha vines were pulled out in favour of the more- marketable Tempranillo, but now producers are slowly realising the benefits of Garnacha in Rioja wines and are replanting the variety.

Tudelilla is a village in the heart of the Rioja Designation of Origin area (DOCa Rioja), in the part known as Rioja Baja, 37 km north-east of the regional capital, Logroño, at an altitude of 545m above sea level. Its soil is rich in edaphological terms with a low organic matter content, a clay-calcareous profile and an unusually large amount of small and medium-sized pebbles that give the soil its own particular grape-growing characteristics, to produce a “vino de pueblo” or village wine.

Tudelilla has a long wine tradition with ancient vineyards where the vines are grown in the traditional goblet shape and other more recent plantations based on more modern grape-growing techniques in which the vines are trained along espaliers.

There is also a long list of former “cosecheros”, workers who used to make wine for their own consumption and later on began producing for sale in bulk, and finally in bottles as an end product.
Today, Tudelilla is making the most of all this potential developed over the years and offers the wine world unique wines and vineyard landscapes.

Winemakers Note

Made using carbonic maceration at 24C over 10 days. Aged in tank for 4 months prior to bottling.

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