Alegre y Valgañón

Rioja (Sajazarra, Cardenas)

Garnacha 2020


Oscar and Eva select from Valdechuecas - a 100 year-old hilltop vineyard at over 600 metres in the Valle de Chuerca (within the Alto Najerilla Valley). The 0.7 hectare north-facing vineyard is west of Cardenas, sloping down towards Rio Cardenas, a tributary of Rio Najerilla, which runs down from the ski-fields of Valdezcaray above CÌÁrdenas to the south in Sierra de la Demanda. 25% of stems are retained, the rest are removed by hand. A low temperature fermentation by indigenous yeast in foudre, with 18 days of maceration followed by a soft vertical pressing and ageing in a pair of 500l French oak barrels. Gravity-bottled, unfiltered and unfined. 3.2pH, 1,150 bottles produced.

This is a masterpiece of delicacy; open-hearted and lingering beautifully. It smells of fennel, radish and quinine bark with a sweet-spice-squeak. Lean and lipstick-kissy, fine wild fennel sweetness repeats in the acid squeak at end. It has excellent ripeness in harmony with fine structure and incredible freshness, but is super-lean in glycerol terms, and wonderfully fresh.