Bodegas Hnos. Peciña Crianza, Rioja 2012
Winegrower: Hermanos P. Pecina
Region: Rioja, Spain
Grape: 95% Tempranillo – 3% Graciano – 2% Garnacha
Robert Parker 91+
James Suckling 91
Tim Atkin 92
Please note: Shipment for this wine will be May 2017.
If you’ve been a Cellar Direct subscriber for a while you might recognise the name Hermanos P. Peciña. This small, family-run winegrower crafts some of the finest, traditionally made Rioja available. We are now pleased to offer their 2012 Crianza from what is recognized as an outstanding vintage (Robert Parker rates it 92 pts) at what we believe is the best price in Canada: $24. Compare against the 2011 vintage (RP 88pts) from another distributor and you will understand why we believe this exceptional wine is well worth buying for your cellar.
La Rioja is Spain’s best known and most sought after wine region. Like other famed, old world regions, a rift has developed between traditional and modern wine making styles. The modern style sees the grapes picked late then bolstered with plenty of new oak, both of which usually hide the true expression of the celebrated Tempranillo grape. The traditional style, however, retains the balance and purity of the grape and the essence and soul of Rioja. Our Crianza, from Bodegas Hermanos Peciña, represents the quintessential traditional expression of both the grape and region and exemplifies why Rioja is one of the world’s great terroirs. The wine has a dark, opaque color and is deep ruby throughout. It has gorgeous aromas of fruit, followed by spice, bright cherry, strawberry and tobacco. On the palate one finds dark cherry and ripe strawberry, tobacco, leather, vanilla, fine-grained tannins and a long silky smooth finish.
Rioja’s traditional school of winemaking, which reigned from the 1850’s to the 1980’s, produced some of the world’s most complex and soul satisfying wines. Few of the historic bodegas, apart from López Heredia and La Rioja Alta, continue to produce traditional wines, but there is one very important bodega that didn’t even exist 25 years ago: Hermanos Peciña.
After 18 years as La Rioja Alta’s vineyard manager, Pedro Peciña founded his bodega in Rioja Alta in 1992. Pedro’s family has grown grapes here for over five generations and owned 20 ha of old vineyards around San Vincente. These formed the basis of his new bodega.
Rioja Alta is the most western part of the Rioja winegrowing region and is legendary for producing fine, elegant wines of moderate alcohol. Pedro’s vineyards are on the upper Elbro River in the rolling foothills of the Cantabra Mountains just south of the Bay of Biscayne. The area’s climate is mostly influenced by the Atlantic, but also by Mediterranean air currents from the east. This produces a delicate balance of relatively moderate temperatures, adequate rainfall and the occasional hard frost, and has allowed the region to produce top quality wines for centuries.
From the start Pedro’s artisanal scale of winemaking has been totally traditional, which means natural. He farms organically, uses indigenous yeasts for fermentation and neutral 5 to 6 year old American oak barrels for aging, which he does far longer than required by law. These practices produce Riojas of breathtaking silkiness and irresistible richness that consistently receives high praise from wine lovers the world over.
Pedro works his vineyards by hand. Grapes are collected in small 15 kg tubs to avoid crushing and minimize oxidation and premature fermentation. In Rioja it’s traditional to use carbonic maceration (fermentation inside each grape before crushing, which is typical in Beaujolais,) to make red wines. Although the grapes at the bottom of the tank are crushed by gravity and undergo conventional fermentation, the resulting wines express a high level of fresh fruit, smooth, fine-grained tannins and moderate alcohol. Pedro also respects the tradition of blending from different vineyards to create more complex, complete wines.
This Crianza is 95% Tempranillo, 3% Graciano and 2% Garnacha. It is aged for two years in seasoned American oak barrels and racked every 6 months using gravity to decant from barrel to barrel to clean the wine naturally without pumping or clarification. This technique allows it to be bottled unfined and unfiltered. It then rests another 18 months before being released. Total aging is three and a half years and exceeds DOCa regulations by 18 months making it more of a Reserva than a Crianza. When served at 17˚ in a red wine glass this wine uplifts a multitude of dishes but is outstanding with William Sonoma’s roasted leg of lamb.