Don’t Judge a Wine by the Label…

On a hot day I almost always shy away from red wine and head for a white or, especially when I am on holiday somewhere hot, a rosé – sometimes even a beer

However, recently I was fortunate enough to try a red wine from Spain that was delicious on a hot day and was hugely enjoyable with a light meal of steak and salad.

This bottle was from a terrifc bodega in Rioja Alavesa, Bodegas Remírez de Ganuza which really is producing some of the most exciting Rioja around at the moment and is building a huge following and growing reputation for its great wines – in my opinion they make one of the very finest white Riojas there is.

The wine I tried this time was their most basic red:

2009 Remírez de Ganuza Erre Punto Tinto Maceración Carbónica D.O.Ca Rioja

I was slightly taken aback by the name of this wine, their white is called 2008 Remírez de Ganuza Erre Punto Tinto Fermentado en Barrica. Including the words Fermentado en Barrica here makes sense because it tells you precisely how it is made and that it has oak influence, barrel fermented indeed – it sounds nice and classy too!

Maceración Carbónica on the other hand seems a strange thing to celebrate, since it is the method of winemaking made famous by Beaujolais Nouveau. I had never knowingly tried a maceration carbonique or carbonic maceration wine that I liked and normally steer well clear of wines made in this way, so I was not really expecting great things from this bottle.

However, I can see that putting Maceración Carbónica on the label does tell us precisely how the wine was made, even if it doesn’t sound too classy or exciting to me.

What it does not do, though is prepare you for quite how good this wine is.

2009 Remírez de Ganuza Erre Punto Tinto
Maceración Carbónica
Bodegas Remírez de Ganuza, Samaniego, Rioja Alavesa
D.O.Ca Rioja

The wine had a lovely colour – a deep glossy blackberry verging on purple.
The nose was fresh and lively, brimming with dark fruits a little bit of spice and some cherryade notes pointing towards the Maceración Carbónica winemaking.
The palate was soft, smooth and rounded with the merest hint of supple tannins. It was medium-bodied with lots of flavour of red fruits and black fruits backed up by just the slightest hint of spice and all balanced by a lovely clean and fresh acidity that makes the wine amazingly refreshing for a red, after all it does have something like 5% of white grapes Viura and Malvasia in the blend – the rest being 90% Tempranillo with 5% Garnacha. Of course the climate and position of Rioja Alavesa also results in noticeable acidity – I will be writing about that soon.
This is classy, enjoyable, simple wine that has enough fruit and softness to stand in for a rosé – lovely wine that earns more points for pleasure than complexity – 90/100 points

Personally, if it was up to me I would drop the Maceración Carbónica from the label, but it was good and gives a lot of wine pleasure for the money, at around €10 in Spain.

This wine was also a really interesting lesson to me – I would have completely ignored a wine labelled as being produced by the Maceración Carbónica, or the maceration carbonique or even carbonic maceration. However, I would have missed out on a really lovely bottle of wine and right now quite a few Rioja producers are making wines in this way with Maceración Carbónica on the label.

So, it seems to me that we should all keep on open mind when it comes to terminology on a wine label, be it Maceración Carbónica, barrel fermented, late harvest, Chardonnay, whatever. The one you try today might just be the example that wins you around and makes you realise that it isn’t Maceración Carbónica, barrel fermented, late harvest or Chardonnay that you don’t like, just the examples you have tried so far.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Judge a Wine by the Label…

  1. Pingback: Rioja Crianza – some good & affordable wines « Quentin Sadler's Wine Page

  2. Pingback: A Touch of Spanish and Portuguese Wine Culture in Lebanon | Catavino | Spanish wine, Portuguese wine and a whole lot more

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