Amorita Bastaja, wine editor of Vancouver’s Scout Magazine, takes a tour of the Telmo Rodriguez winery high above Rioja Alavesa. As she wonders among 80 year old Tempranillo bush vines with Pablo, the winemaker/partner at Telmo Rodriguez, he explains to her that soil and its purity is key to the vineyards. An excerpt is below:
“His plots have a very red soil, flecked with calcium. He comments that his vines are very close together and I tell him that I disagree. Compared to other regions his plants are very far apart. He then takes me to a vineyard he doesn’t own. The vines are trained very high and extremely close together. The soil is also a different colour.
I ask him why this is and he explains that this owner decided the vineyard didn’t have enough soil, so he just bought some and spread it around. He also points out that the Tempranillo is not in its “true state” being trained so high and in neat little rows. He finds it completely ludicrous to bring soil from another region and train the vines in a way they don’t normally grow. “It takes away the essence of the wines, what makes them quintessentially Rioja,” he tells me. “One no longer tastes the region in the bottle”.
We finish our tour in the barrel room where I sample the great value LZ, one of the 3 Riojas that Telmo produces (approx $25 in private stores). Chock full of blackberries, minerality and firm tannins, this young wine needs time, but it was still a lovely sign of things to come.”
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