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2003 Luis Cañas Rioja Reserva: Reviewed

There's something elusive in this wine, an aroma and a flavor which I can't quite pin down. The mystery appeals to me and makes this wine all the more captivating. Regular readers may realize by now that I'm a fan of Tempranillo. So it should be no surprise that I like Spanish wines. This Rioja is made from a blend of Tempranillo and Graciano grapes.

About Graciano
The high-acidity of the Graciano grape makes it a good companion for blending with low-acid varieties like Tempranillo. Although considered a high-quality grape, grown primarily in Rioja and Navarra, it is low yielding, which is prompting some Spanish growers to replace this varietal with more productive vines. In France Graciano is known as Morrastel.

I found this Rioja pleasingly medium dry, with medium body, and a medium finish. With a subtle nose, this smooth drinking wine has developed into an enjoyable, ready to drink now wine. It should pair well with grilled or smoked meats and is suitable for taking in a desert sunset.

Tasting Note:
A bit dusty on opening, after a little aeration, some candied cherry emerged (reminds me of a cherry turnover) accompanied by a hint of leather jacket. This wine is layered with flavors of plum, leather, graphite, black pepper and boysenberry, with a distinct cherry finish, reminding me of our local Chukar Cherries (candied cherries).

Rioja wines are classified based on aging in oak barrels and bottles. Reserva is used to describe wines that have been aged in oak barrels for 18 to 24 months, followed by a further 12 to 24 months aging in bottle. The 2003 Luis Cañas Rioja Reserva was aged 12 months in French oak and 6 months in American oak, it is 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano with 14% alcohol.

Bodegas Luis Cañas is situated in Villabuena in the heart of Rioja Alavesa. The area around Villabuena has broken clay soils over limestone on which Tempranillo ripens. High, in the north of the region, very cold winters are followed by warm, dry summers. Producing around 1.5 million bottles per year the estate has 120 hectares of vineyards and holds ISO 9002 for the winery and bottling plant.

I purchased my 2003 Luis Cañas Rioja Reserva from Lot 18. The wine arrived in good condition and I’m happy with my purchasing experience. You can add this Bodega to my must visit list; one of these years I'll get to Spain. Recommended.



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