Aldonia 100, Rioja 2016
Top Riojan red wine from this modern bodega, you’d be forgiven for thinking you have a generous glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape not Spain’s finest! It’s all made from 100 year-old Garnacha (aka Grenache in the Rhône Valley) vines which bring concentration, sublime silkiness and lasting power to the wine. With just enough oak, the fruit is dense and luxurious, designed to be savoured with your favourite red meat, venison perhaps, or a hunk of mature cheese on possibly the coldest day of winter. Unless you can find an excuse to uncork it earlier...
|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…’