This highly-regarded bodega is run by the Fernandez brothers (Carlos is pictured in front of his rugged old Tempranillo vines) in the rainy Riojan subregion of Alavesa, high up in the Basque hills. Along with Alta, Alavesa produces Rioja’s most elegant and complex wines. The Sierra Cantabria dominate the local landscape, and chilling Atlantic weather systems frequently infiltrate the area (rainfall is double Rioja Baja’s amount), imbuing the wines with bright acidity, good colour and an ability to age.
Beneath the bodega lies a network of caves joined by tunnels dating from the middle ages. In these cavernous cellars Tierra’s fine Riojas rest and age gracefully in oak barrels of varying type, toast and size.
We offer 5 wines from Tierra Agricola Labastida but the sumptuous white Rioja is sold out already, after a few too many enthusiastic recommendations from staff. Not to worry, we’ll get it in again this autumn. In the meantime, here are 4 gorgeous reds to ensure you don’t die of thirst. The introductory prices apply until October 31st ;)
La Hoja Rioja Alavesa 2012
Floral, early-drinking Tempranillo that should be dunked in the fridge for 15 minutes prior to drinking for maximum refreshment. Enjoy on its own or alongside grilled lamb chops and chili jam.
La Hoja Rioja Alavesa Crianza 2010
A blend of 90% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha and 5% (white) Viura, this Crianza comes from 15-year-old vineyards, at 550m altitude. It’s aged for one year in new French and American oak barrels. Drink on its own, with a cheese plate, roast lamb or a hearty paella.
El Primavera Rioja Alavesa 2012
Concentrated and harmonious Tempranillo that shows lovely finesse, freshness and aromatic lift. Velvety and textured, with rich tannins and generous flavours of plum compote, wild strawberry and vanilla. Plush and contemporary in style. Pair with Moroccan lamb tagine with figs.
Tierra Rioja Alavesa Crianza 2010
A premium Crianza that is a terrific ambassador for Alavesa. Brash nose of sweet spice (clove, cinnamon), raspberry jam and leather. The palate is full bodied, with smooth tannins and lush notes of mulberry and sandalwood. Fleshy, open and opulent style. Try with pork belly in a five-spice rub! The 2009 of this wine appears in the current edition of Decanter magazine, where it scores a very good 86/100, with the notes reading: “Very fresh aromas; pure and focused. Good wine with sweet, attractive fruit.”