Top Riojas through the ages

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Sarah Jane Evans MW explores the stylistic evolution of Rioja and suggests the best wines to look out for and buy from vintages spanning the last two decades...
Rioja, Bodegas Vinedos Artadi Pagos Viejos
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Bodegas y Viñedos Artadi, Pagos Viejos 2007

Bodegas y Viñedos Artadi, Pagos Viejos 2007
A selection of three different vineyard sites, with Tempranillo up to 75 years old (‘pagos viejos’), then aged in Alliers oak. Juan Carlos Lopez de Lacalle has grown his celebrated business out of an unknown cooperative. Pagos Viejos may be the second wine, but it shows dense, smoky charm, a blend of black fruits and a fine grip of tannin, with a smart, savoury sign-off. The top wine is Viña El Pison, currently retailing at about £300. 18.5pts/20 (95/100pts)
Price £47–£55 Berry Bros & Rudd, Connollys, Fine & Rare, Gauntleys, Inverarity, James Nicholson, Jeroboams, Laytons, Swig
Drink 2013–2025
Alc 14%