It’s hard to know what to call these guys, they have a number of different brand, 3.5 bodegas (one is being built) and they are a huge family (there are Egurens making wine all over Rioja). But whatever they are called they make a diverse range of wines ine Rioja Alta and Alvesa. We kicked off our visits in Rioja with a look around Vinedos de Paganos where the vineyards and bodega for El Puntido and La Nieta are located, then a quick drive over San Vincente to have a look at the bodega for San Vicente followed by a tasting. One habit I could used to is tucking into some fine jamon y queso after a tasting…
On the rumour front, we had a quick chat about the new Toro venture. The highly successful Numanthia bodega was sold to LMVH for a tidy sum that has allowed the group to both expand it’s operations in Rioja, hence the new bodega, and to concentrate on a new property in Toro. The new bodega is called Teso la Monja and can be found just across road from Numanthia, apparently you can wave to the new owner of Numanthia. A three tier structure of wines will continue here, look for new releases in the next couple of years.
Now these guys have a huge range of wines, so we sampled a range of their Rioja wines – including some of their best wines.
Sierra Cantabria Crianza 2005 – Sierra Cantabria is the more traditional range here and is made in a bodega in San Vicente de la Sonsierra. Full of fresh fruit and plenty of character. The wood is hardly noticeable and flavor profile is the classic red cherry, cola and wild herbs of Rioja. 88 Pts.
Sierra Cantabria Reserva 2004 - while this is the ‘traditional’ range, there has certainly been some work done to bring this wine up to date. You can see that french oak on the nose but it’s not intrusive. Fresh red cherry, herby undergrowth, a bit of clove and cinnamon with some licorice. There is a minerally edge to this wine that really makes it stand out. Excellent value drinking here. 90 Pts.
Sierra Cantabria Cuvée Especial 2005 - This wine doesn’t make it out to Australia, not sure why, but it was my pick of the Sierra Cantabria wines. Its 100% tempranillo from 30+ year old vines with some deft oak work. Lush and fresh with plenty of character, the nose is quite aromatic with violets and earthy notes, long length and good balance. A very smart wine for the price. 91 Pts.
San Vicente 2005 - Now this guy took a while to come around, but when it did it was well worth the wait. For me, the main thrust of this wine is the aromatic nose: violet, rose, cherry, raspberry and blueberry, vanilla, freshly cut wood and subtle herbs. The palate isn’t anything to scoff at either, fine knit tannins, a very long finish and the excellent balance that seems to be a trademark of the house. 94 Pts.
El Puntido 2005 - We had a couple of bottle of this wine during the trip, one at the excellent Restaurante Héctor Oribe in Paganos itself. Gutsy and potent, this shows sappy plum fruit with bright cherry, earth and spice. Definitely full bodied with plenty of oak work that suits this style. This is full strength Rioja, but it’s not over done and everything is impeccably balanced. 93 Pts.
Sierra Cantabria Organza 2007 - This is a white wine made from old Viura, Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca vines and aged in brand new french oak. A very modern style of white Rioja that drinks really well. Textured, but fresh and zippy. Notes of white melons, lemon peel and nutty spices, this is something quite different and shows you can do good things with the traditional Rioja white grapes. 90 Pts.