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Rioja’s Bodegas Lan and nine wines rated

Making wines for more than five decades, Bodegas Lan is one of the best-known names in Rioja. Sarah Jane Evans MW reviews its top wines, including Culmen and Viña Lanciano.

The name of Bodegas Lan, so the story goes, stands for the three main provinces that make up Rioja: Logroño (now La Rioja), Alava and Navarra. The winery was founded in 1972 by a group of men from Bilbao looking to set up a txoko, a traditional Basque dining club. Lan was not alone; Beronia, also launched in the 1970s, was similarly based on a group of friends meeting in a txoko.

The Ebro river meanders through Rioja on its journey eastwards to the Mediterranean. It’s in one of the most obvious of those meanders that Lan has the 74 hectare ‘Lanciano’ vineyard. This is border country, on the very edge of Rioja Alta, just across the river from Rioja Alavesa.

There has been a crossing point here since Roman times, though the remains of the Puente de Mantible (Mantible Bridge), more likely date from the Middle Ages. Just two arches of an estimated seven remain today, but it must have been a striking construct, with 30 metre-high arches at the highest point. The stones themselves were quarried from the edge of the vineyard and give a clue to the quality of the land on this estate.

Scroll down to see Sarah Jane Evans MW’s nine Bodegas Lan wines to seek out

See notes and scores for Sarah Jane Evans MW’s nine Bodegas Lan wines to seek out

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