Last year was a write off in terms of blog postings, but it’s almost the new year and time to get back on the horse…I had hoped to see this wine in tank when I was in La Rioja in Feb last year, but alas the snow and conflicting schedules got in the way. Now it’s in bottle and here in Australia, I’ve a very happy boy indeed.
LZ comes from one of the two vineyards that is fully owned and managed by Compania del Vinos de Telmo Rodriguez, this one located just outside the small village of Lanciago on the Basque side of the Rioja. (The other one is in Galacia, where the Gaba do Xil wines are made). Its basically one hill side just outside the village, you could call it and estate if you like, that is loosely modeled on the burgundy quality pyramid of village wines in the lower areas, 1er Crus at the top and Grand Grus in the middle. And I do mean loosely, it’s not quite as hard as that. Setup to be biodynamic (and now certified as such)and modern, but keeping the old traditions in the back of mind, the vines are all trained in goblet (or en Vaso in Spanish).
Up top there is a modern winery that looks like it’s straight out of a Bond film, well a modern, sustainable Bond film. Recycled barrel staves, compressed earth walls, natural temp control and gravity flow instead of pumps, the bodega ticks all sustainable, low input buildings, yet still manages to look like a something out of the thunderbirds (very cool in my book). Built low into the hilside, you wouldn’t know it was there if you weren’t looking for it. But at the heart of the bodega are these huge concrete fermenters. Custom made, trucked up the impossibly small road to the winery and lifted in place, these big grey silos are the key to making LZ the wine it is. Concrete provides excellent temperature control, and in combination with the building itself, keeps fermentation temps low and preserves all of that lovely fruit flavour. Whatever they are doing, it is surely working. I think this might just be the best young wine from Rioja I’ve ever seen…
The wine itself is a joy to drink. I’m a fairly harsh critic of joven wines from Rioja, I often find them full of green herbs and sulfur, preferring the riper offerings from Ribera del Duero and Toro usually. But this is the polar opposite, lively with a core of red and blue fruits, wild herbs and an earthy quality. Sappy and meaty, lengthy finish that leaves the taste of minerals, ripe fruit and herbs. Middle weight with soft tannins, spot on for summer and autumn drinking. Just the kind of thing I could drink every day for a month and be totally happy with. Grill up some mushrooms with garlic and oil, lovely. Clearly the best LZ yet. 91 Pts.
Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $25 Closure: Conventional Cork
Other Vintages: 2005, 2006