How many Mexicans does it take to…

How many Mexicans does it take to make a pretty good wine from a grape called, wait for it, Tempranillo Blanco?

Well the answer is, three generations of Gómez Cruzado family now based in Conchas de Haro and Montes Obarenes in Rioja (Spain) since 1886, and indeed, these days making some super wines. Especially these two, in my books:

2015 Pancrudo Terroir Selection, Rioja

100%, 80 year old bush-trained Garnacha grown around the village of Badarán. The wine is made in open stainless steel tanks and then the malolactic goes on in ‘cement egg-shaped’ vessels before 12 months in new French oak. This vintage they managed to produce only 3.820 bottles of well balanced red fruit, saline and acidity both kept in check. Very very quaffable indeed.

Gomez Crozado - Rioja

2015 Montes Obarenes, Rioja 

Beautifully made white wine from the local Viura grape and blended with 15% of this remarkable Tempraniilo Blanco, that I had never come across before, which is why I wanted too share this tasting with you. The wine is fermented on it’s lees and then 80% is aged in a new French oak barrel for just under a year. Now, I took somenotes and here we go: Clean and bright. On the nose, high intensity, complexity and elegance from the beginning. White fruit and stone fruit, mineral notes also appear. On the palate, spectacular trail with great initial volume, citric acidity that vertebrates it and makes it savory and fresh. On the finish I found a good balance of fruit that I also found on the nose. The wine of the evening for me. But then again I am still in the kindergarten over Tempranillo Tinto, which I still cannot get along with, but will pursue.

The other wines tasted on that evening were, also from Gómez Cruzado, 2014 Rioja Crianza and their 2011 Reserva, followed by 2015 Cerro las Cuevas. The latter is made of 95% Tempranillo and 5%, most welcome, Graciano. Cherry red color and quite intense nose of black fruits: blueberries, blackberry, a touch of licorice. A broad, full palate, good acidity that supports it’s length. Powerful, complex and fine. More Graciano in the blend please next time, maybe  even up to 15%, and just for me!