Distinguished Riojas from Bodegas Roda and Telmo Rodriguez’ Bodega Lanzaga

Bodegas Roda and Telmo Rodriguez’ Bodega Lanzaga are winemaking perfectionists. We visited these two wineries for our last Rioja report, and we expect to revisit them soon.  Meanwhile, in this article we review their current releases, thanks to their importer Valkyrie Selections.

Telmo Rodríguez Bodega Lanzaga   Son of the family that owns Remelluri, Telmo Rodríguez studied winemaking in Bordeaux, worked at Cos d’Estournel and other French wineries and then began making his own wines throughout Spain, always with the same model—seeking out exceptional, old vineyards and following organic, and increasingly biodynamic, practices to produce “wines with soul.”  He works closely with another Bordeaux-trained winemaker, Pablo Egurkiza, who showed us their vineyards and winery located in Lanciego in Alava at the foot of the Sierra de Cantabria.  

Bodega Lanzaga 2017 Telmo Rodríguez Corriente Rioja ($22) 91  Fresh black cherry with dark berry and hints of earth show on the nose. The Corriente is full on the attack, softly textured and reveals a good backbone with firm tannins. Beautiful mouth feel and excellent balance. An outstanding wine, especially for the price. A handpicked blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Graciano from old bush vines in the cool Lanciego zone of Rioja Alavesa; fermented in concrete tanks and stainless steel followed by 12 months in barrel and large foudres. 14% alc.

Bodega Lanzaga 2014 Telmo Rodriguez Lanzaga Rioja ($35) 92  This old vine field blend is fresh, pure and refined. It shows dark berries and cherries on the nose with nuances of tobacco and spice. The mouth feel is exceptionally silky and elegant with round tannins and vibrant acidity. A handpicked, old bush vine field blend of predominantly Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Graciano and other varieties, biodynamically cultivated, from estate vineyards in Lanziego fermented in concrete and matured 14 months in barrel and foudre. An outstanding wine, especially for the price.

Bodegas Roda  Founded in 1987 by Mario Rotllan and Carmen Danurella and located in Haro adjacent to the Ebro River in the Barrio de la Estación, Roda has 150 ha of old vine vineyards, 70 ha its own vineyards and 80 ha under contract, all old, bush vines. The vineyards have diverse soils and cover a wide range of altitudes up to 650m and are organized into 17 different parcels that are separately vinified and later blended into a redder fruit blend (called Roda) and a darker fruit blend (called Roda I).  Roda practices sustainable viticulture and is one of Rioja’s most research-oriented wineries.  Agustín Santolaya is the winemaker.  Roda’s wines are firmly structured and benefit from extended cellaring as we learned from a tasting of several older vintages on our last visit.  

Bodegas Roda 2016 Cirsion Rioja ($299) 96  More accessible early on than some of its brethren, the Cirsion is a modern wine with aromas that soar from the glass showing dark cassis, spice box and notes of espresso and vanilla. It has a polished, elegant palate that’s seductively sweet and pure. A youthful wine with firm tannins that will surely evolve very positively over the next few years. A blend of 89% old vine Tempranillo and 11% old vine Graciano of more than 50 years of age matured in new French oak for 8 months. 14.5% alc.

Bodegas Roda 2015 Roda I Reserva Rioja ($72) 94   Dark red, the Roda I offers a perfumed bouquet of ripe berries and dark cherries  complicated by floral, spice and earth notes. The palate shows impeccable balance with good concentration and complexity, well integrated oak, and a velvety smooth palate with supple but firm tannins.  A blend of  97% Tempranillo and 3% Graciano from old vines in the northwest section of Rioja; aged 16 months in French oak. 14.5% alc.

Bodegas Roda 2016 Roda Reserva Rioja ($49) 93  Dark red berry and cherry fruit complemented by notes of tobacco and loamy earth. Densely flavored on a silky palate with firm but round tannins and well integrated oak. Best to decant for several hours prior to serving. A blend of 85% Tempranillo, 9% Graciano and 6% Garnacha from sustainably farmed vines 30-90 years of age matured 16 months in French oak. 14.5% alc

Bodegas Roda 2017 Sela Rioja ($36) 91  Sela is the most accessible of the Roda wines at this point. It shows dark cherry and plum with touches of tobacco leaf and earthy spice on the nose. It offers good concentration and balance with an appealing, smooth texture on the palate. Finishes with firm tannins and a lingering sense of freshness. A blend of 95% Tempranillo, 3% Graciano, and 2% Garnacha.

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