2017 Raza Reserva Malbec

Classic deep purple. Sumptuous, rich blackberries and plums, enlivened with notes of violet, liquorice and spicy oak. Silken and opulent, but with enough heft and structure to maintain good posture.

Grape Variety: 100% Malbec

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£10.95

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2017 Raza Reserva Malbec, Famatina Valley, Argentina

Tasting Note

Classic deep purple. Sumptuous, rich blackberries and plums, enlivened with notes of violet, liquorice and spicy oak. Silken and opulent, but with enough heft and structure to maintain good posture.

Food Pairing

Big, fat, juicy steaks. Red meat casseroles. Barbecue.

Producer Info

Viña Riojanas is the principle producer in La Rioja province, in the hot North of the country. This co-operative was founded in 1940 and currently has 451 members. It owns 3,682 hectares of vineyard and farms a further 1,106.

Over 1,000 hectares are certified organic, with most of the rest to follow. The vineyards are in the Famatina Valley and are located at between 1,000 and 1,400 metres, ameliorating the heat.

Regional Info

La Rioja is a wine region in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in western Argentina, north of Mendoza and San Juan. The mountainous terroir of the region is particularly suited to the white-grape variety Torrontes, which produces crisp, aromatic white wines.

Locals argue that La Rioja was one of the first Argentinian regions to have vines planted in it, and Spanish settlers in the late 16th Century are widely credited with being the first to plant grapes here. In fact, La Rioja was named for the northern Spanish region of the same name by Juan Ramirez de Velasco, a Spaniard from Rioja itself. This has caused some animosity between the two regions: in 2011, the Argentinian province won a court case allowing it to continue to label its wines as ‘La Rioja Argentina’.

La Rioja’s position in the rain shadow of the Andes range means that wine-producing areas are strictly governed by access to water. As a result, vineyard distribution is scattered. There is a single main production area in the FamatinaValley, which sits in the mesoclimate formed by the Sierra de Velasco and the Sierra de Famatina mountain ranges. Some small vineyard areas can also be found around the towns of Nonogasta and Villa Union.

The relationship between low latitude and high altitude comes into play in La Rioja. The province’s latitude of 29°S puts it closer to the Equator than most of the world’s wine regions, but the high altitude moderates the high temperatures usually associated with this latitude. High levels of sunshine during the day are followed by nights cooled by alpine winds from the nearby Andes. This diurnal temperature variation slows ripening overnight, extending the growing season and leading to a balance of ripe fruit characters and fresh acidity in the wine.

The sandy, alluvial soils of mountainous origin provide the viticultural areas of La Rioja with a desirable terrain for grape production, although the free-draining nature of the soils means that irrigation is necessary throughout the province. Through the use of drip and flood irrigation, vignerons have a good deal of control over the growth of the vines. By limiting the amount of water used in the vineyard, they can restrict vigour and yields, leading to grapes (and subsequently wines) with a greater concentration of flavour.

While La Rioja is best known for its white wines (quite unlike its Spanish namesake), Bonarda, Syrah and Malbec can also be found growing throughout the region.

Awards

Commended – International Wine Challenge 2016 Bronze Medal

International Wine Challenge 2015 International Wine Challenge Fairtrade Award

Silver Medal – International Wine Challenge 2013

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