And the winner is...
RODA Reserva 2006, DOCa Rioja
RODA burst upon the scene in Haro in 1987 with an ambition to make Rioja’s finest wine. It was founded by a Catalan couple, Mario Rotllant and Carmen Daurella (hence RoDa), and they hired Agustín Santolaya (now the Chief Executive) who is an expert on the terroirs of Rioja, to find the finest plots with the finest grapes.
The company then either bought or leased them and now controls 170 ha of vines, mainly Tempranillo but with a little Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo. The youngest vines are more than 30 years old and some up to 100 years old, and originally all the wines were bottled as genericos – i.e. without using the traditional epithets. In 2002, however, the bodega renamed its ‘second’ wine (originally called RODA II) as Reserva.
This particular vintage is Tempranillo with a very little Graciano (the Garnacha vineyard – 80 years old – was devastated by hail that year). Picking was spread over three weeks from mid-September, and the wine was fermented in oak vats with malolactic in the barrel, and then 16 further months in French oak, (50% new) and 20 months in bottle before release. The ‘hands-on’ winemaker is Carlos Díez de la Concepción, and he and Santolaya make the decisions about ageing on a vintage-by vintage basis.
The same vintage of this wine was awarded a bronze medal in the 2010 Awards: what a difference another year in bottle makes.
Written by John Radford