Vintage: 2018

VintageProduct CodeFormatClosureAvailability
2018BL410B186 x 75Natural CorkAvailable
Vegetarian
Vegan
Producer

Founded in 1972, Bodegas LAN is situated in the heart of Rioja Alta. Though a relatively young Rioja house, Bodegas LAN has gained a reputation for the excellent quality of its wines. This quality is derived from the grapes they work with, grown in their spectacular Viña Lanciano vineyard and other prime vineyard sites in Rioja Alta and Alavesa, and from winemaker María Barúa’s great attention to detail in the winery.

Viña Lanciano is one of largest and most striking single-vineyard sites in Rioja Alta, encircled by a meander of the Ebro river. The vineyard’s poor, stony soils and old vines, up to 60 years of age, are both conducive to low yields of very concentrated fruit. The site is divided into 24 plots of different soils and aspects and these are matched to the different grape varieties: Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha and Mazuelo. The top site within the Viña Lanciano vineyard is ‘Pago el Rincón’ which boasts the highest elevation, the oldest vines and almost Châteauneuf-du-Pape-esque pudding stone soils. ‘El Rincón’ and is the source of the fruit for the ‘A Mano’ and ‘Culmen’ wines. The vineyard is sustainably farmed without any use of herbicides and all the grapes are harvested by hand.

María Barúa has been the head winemaker and technical director since 2002, bringing both scientific expertise (with an academic background in chemistry and an oenology degree) and local knowledge (having been born and raised in Rioja). María is an expert on oak ageing and, just as individual grape varieties are matched to specific plots within the vineyard, a lot of work goes into matching each wine with the perfect barrel. Bodegas LAN work with a wide range of French, American, Russian and Hungarian oak from many different coopers and were also the first Rioja bodega to pioneer a hybrid barrel with American oak staves and French oak heads.

These hybrid barrels are used to age the Rioja Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva, all of which are a blend Tempranillo with just a touch of Mazuelo. The Gran Reserva is the product of 40-year-old Tempranillo vines in Rioja Alta with Mazuelo grown in the famed Viña Lanciano vineyard adding extra depth. The intensely concentrated fruit is capable of standing up to two years ageing in oak followed by three years in bottle before release.

The ‘D-12’ Crianza is a nod to the cheeky Rioja tradition of winemakers choosing the best wines to keep for themselves. In Bodegas LAN’s case, this was always the wine in the ‘D-12’ tank. Each vintage, the most promising Tempranillo parcel is singled out and destined for ‘D-12’. Aged in American and French new oak barrels, the ‘D-12’ boasts intense aromas of cranberry, redcurrant and prune coupled with vanilla and cinnamon.

100% organic Tempranillo, the grapes for the ‘Xtrème’ Organic Crianza come from a five-hectare, organically farmed plot within Viña Lanciano. Fermented with native yeasts and aged for 14 months in new French oak barrels, this is a fine example of a Rioja Crianza, bursting with bright red fruit flavours of strawberry and cherry married with a marked spiciness.

The ‘Viña Lanciano’ Reserva is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo and is a very elegant expression of the unique sense of place of this staggeringly beautiful vineyard. Aromas of brooding black fruit combine with a subtle smokiness and a lick of vanilla from ageing in French and Russian oak. ‘A Mano’ translates as ‘by hand’ and is a nod to the fact that the grapes go through a vigorous and labour-intensive sorting process by berry to ensure that only pristine fruit makes it into the wine. Aged for seven months in new French oak followed by seven months in new Russian oak, the ‘A Mano’ has the hallmark minerality of Viña Lanciano wines, coupled with juicy black fruit flavours and a perfectly integrated spiciness from the oak.

The ‘Culmen’ Reserva, meaning ‘epitome’, is the jewel of the Bodegas LAN crown and is only produced in outstanding vintages from the oldest Tempranillo and Graciano vines in ‘El Rincón’. This hugely concentrated wine is aged for 25 months in new French oak barrels, followed by a further 20 months in bottle. The recently released 2015 vintage was awarded 96 points by Wine Spectator.

Vineyards

The Tempranillo grapes for the 2018 D-12 were sourced from two specially selected vineyards: one in Lanciego in Rioja Alavesa boasting vines over 30 years old, the other in El Cortijo, near the Viña Lanciano estate in Rioja Alta, with 42-year-old vines. These older vines produce lower yields of grapes with great intensity of flavour.

Vintage

The 2018 vintage in Rioja began with a cold, wet spring which delayed bud burst. Damp weather during flowering and fruit set caused some issues and resulted in lower yields. Early summer was initially rainy, but a warm August allowed the vines to catch up and ripening occurred at a slow and steady pace through the cooler than usual September with the ‘el cierzo’ wind blowing in from the north. This slow paced ripening process allowed the grapes to accumulate great intensity of flavour while retaining a balancing acidity. Harvest took place in early October and the grapes were characterised by a marked freshness from the cooler than usual conditions.

Vinification

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were destemmed and crushed. Fermentation took place in stainless-steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 25°C, in order to retain the aromatics of the Tempranillo. A post-fermentastion maceration on the skins helped to round out the tannins and gave the wine a lovely silky mouthfeel. The wine was aged for 12 months in new oak barrels, 70% of which were American oak from the Appalachians, 30% of which were French oak from the forests of Châteauroux and Loches. The final blend was then assembled and the wine was aged for a further 12 months in bottle before release.

Tasting Notes & Technical Details

Intense cherry red in colour. On the nose, aromas of ripe strawberries and raspberries are married with spicy notes of liquorice and chocolate and subtle floral hints. On the palate, velvety tannins give a silky mouthfeel and a crisp acidity carries the flavours onto the spicy finish.

Alcohol (ABV)

13.5%

Acidity

5.6 g/l

Residual Sugar

1.9 g/l

pH

3.62

Awards
Silver Medal

Decanter World Wine Awards 2021

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