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International Trophy Red Spanish Varietals over £15 – Lan, Culmen, Rioja Reserva, Spain 2010

Modern, bold and masculine, with a huge nose of earth, chocolate, vanilla, cassis, prune, date, fig and spice. Something of a monster and fully charged on the palate, boasting lashings of oak and immense levels of dark fruit, complemented by black olive, tapenade and tobacco. A wonderful wine with fabulous density and great potential for the future (14%).
£65 Sogrape UK, SH Jones, Vin Neuf POA Monsieur Touton Selections USA

An ALL-SPANISH FINAL pitted two classic Riojas against contenders from Ribera del Duero and Bierzo, but this Rioja Reserva from Lan won the judges’ hearts in the end, praised for showing ‘modern Spain at its absolute best’. They loved its concentration and boldness, and a style that bridges both old and new schools of winemaking technique.

Such comments are not only a vote of confidence in Logroño-born winemaker María Barúa, but are in keeping with the history and philosophy of Bodegas Lan. The winery was established in 1972 and derives its name from an acronym of the three provinces of the Rioja DO: Logroño, Alava and Navarra. From the outset, the company was committed to owning all of its vineyards, so it was able to control the raw material from root to glass.

The foundation and heart of Bodegas Lan – and, more particularly, of this wine – is the Viña Lanciano estate, much prized for its combination of climate, weather conditions, grape varieties, low yields and soils. Within this 72-hectare estate sits Pago El Rincón, an enclave of mineral-rich soils and the site of the vineyard’s oldest Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo plantings.

When the harvest from this site is outstanding, as it was in the 2010 vintage, these grapes are picked for Culmen – the ‘culmination’ of Lan’s, and Barúa’s, experience and expertise. Fewer than 20,000 bottles of this Trophy winner were released.

Finca Viña Lanciano otoñoPago El Rincón on Lan’s Viña Lanciano estate is the source of the old-vine fruit for Culmen

Tasted against

Arzuaga, Amaya Arzuaga, Ribera del Duero, Spain 2010 • Descendientes de J Palacios, Villa de Corullón, Bierzo, Spain 2012 • La Rioja Alta, 890, Rioja Gran Reserva, Spain 2001.

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