Bodegas Hermanos Pecina - Rioja Crianza 2016
Hermanos de Pecina is an “old school” Rioja producer, committed to traditional practices such as long aging in mostly neutral American oak, open-air racking by hand (trasiego), and long bottle aging, among others. This may seem odd considering the winery was only founded in 1992. But not when you consider that founder Pedro Pecina spent 20 years working for standard-bearer La Rioja Alta. In 2002, he left Rioja Alta to focus on his own project, having gained crucial knowledge of where the best vineyards are – San Vicente de la Sonsierra! This tiny medieval fortress village of just 1100 people in La Rioja is the source for some of the greatest wines in the entire region. Sheltered from the cold winds of the Cantabrian Sea, with moisture provided by the Ebro River to the south, this windswept location provides the perfect microclimate for producing world class old vine Tempranillo. Benjamin Romeo’s acclaimed Bodegas Contador estate wines from San Vicente sell for over $200 a bottle!
Pecina’s Crianza is always a charmer, but this 2015 is sensational. The winery considers it to the be their best bottling ever, and it’s no wonder considering how excellent the 2015 vintage was in Rioja overall. A blend of 95% Tempranillo, 3% Graciano, and 2% Garnacha from 25+ year old organically farmed estate vines. The grapes are destemmed, crushed and fermented on native yeasts in stainless steel. The wine then rests for 36 months in used American oak barrels, and is racked every six months by hand (barrel to barrel). The bottled unfiltered and unfined wine is then aged for a further 18 months prior to release. It’s all pretty time consuming and labor intensive but the result is quite stunning. Pecina achieves that perfect interplay of fruit to oak that can only be found in the very best Riojas. The oak ageing doesn’t mask the fruit, it enhances the wine, heightening aromatics, adding complexity, elevating texture and mouthfeel. Flavors of spiced cherry and raspberry weave seamlessly with delicate notes of vanilla, tobacco, and dried flowers. There’s great freshness on the tongue, more red fruits, very fine almost velvety tannins, and a long finish that’s balanced with more spice, minerals, and good acidity. Irresistible now, and you can expect it to age gracefully for another ten years. What a wine!
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