Aldonia 100, Rioja 2016
|Bottle Size||75 cl|
|Drinking Guide||Drink Now|
|Food Match||Duck, Roast|
‘I bought a case of this Aldonia 100 2015 a year ago more or less on a whim, mainly because I like old-vine Grenache. My plan was to see how it ages over a period of several years, but it’s so enormously, joyously drinkable that these honourable intentions have been totally blown out of the water. Six months after opening the first bottle, there’s knack all of it left.
There are two things I particularly like about this wine. Firstly, it’s 100% Garnacha (Grenache). Rioja is so obsessively all about Tempranillo that I always feel that the supporting cast of varieties don’t get much of a look in, even when they’re from venerable old vineyard such as this.
Secondly it’s from Rioja Baja. This latter sub-division of the DO has recently been renamed Rioja Oriental (Eastern Rioja) because ‘Lower Rioja’ was felt to be a bit, well, derogatory. And for sure, the flat lands south-east of Logrono don’t get much in the way of publicity, overshadowed by the more aristocratic Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa.
So, an overlooked grape variety, from an overlooked region. But my love of this wine is not just because it’s an underdog that’s punching… this ancient vineyard has weathered the warm 2015 vintage beautifully. The wine is rich and exuberant, but also silkily contained with a juicy fresh-strawberry lift: a big man in a well-fitting suit with a well-judged floral buttonhole.
And a sub-£20 wine from 100-year-old vines? Excuse me, I just need to make a phone call…’