Bodegas Ostatu Rioja Crianza 2012
Wine: Bodegas Ostatu
Region: Rioja Alavesa
Vines: Lutte Raisonnée/Sustainable
Earlier this week I kicked off a new series called Industry Interviews, where I talk with wine professionals about their various areas of expertise. Spanish wine importer André Tamers of De Maison Selections provided some much needed insight into modern Spanish winemaking and the future of those wines. One future direction is grower Rioja, just like grower Champagne, estate bottled wines from a region dominated by huge, moneyed co-ops are changing the way we think about Spain, and elevating those wines to become true competitors on the world stage. Bodegas Ostatu is one such entity.
The Sáenz de Samaniego family's history with the vine goes back to the 16th century, much of those vineyards presumably farmed to sell to négociants and co-ops, as is the custom in Spain. In the late 1960s, the family began estate bottling their own wines, effectively starting down the path of what Tamers respectfully calls "grower Rioja." Today, four siblings of the Sáenz de Samaniego family run the show, adhering to sustainable vineyard practices with a focus on low yields in the chalky clay soils around the town of Samaniego in Rioja Alavesa at the foot of the Sierra de Cantabria mountain range. The Crianza is 95% tempranillo with a dash of garnacha, mazuelo and graciano. The wine undergoes carbonic maceration, then fermented in stainless steel tank and aged 12 months in French oak barrels, as law dictates.
Bodegas Ostatu Crianza 2012 is an opaque plum color with raspberry and black cherry on the nose. Smokey notes and subtle herbal aromas precede generous red and black fruits on the palate, great balance, and firm tannins with just enough chew to welcome protein of the carne category.