Wine Geek Recommended
Meet the CoolVines Wine Geek! He’ll guide you toward – or away from! – wines that have a unique flavor profile: intentionally oxidized wines, earthy, stinky wines, wines with a bit of fritz on the tongue. Look for him throughout our web site, and on the shelves in our stores, to point the way toward these geeky wines.
Conde De Hervias is a project by Iñigo Manso de Zuñiga Ugartechea. Iñigo, whose lineage dates back to the Visigoths, owns prestigious plots of old vines in Rioja Alta surrounding his home in Torremontalvo. His family has been selling to the likes of Campo Viejo for many years. In 2010 Iñigo released a second label to compliment his flagship Conde de Hervías wine, entitled Mencos. The philosophy behind this second label is to produce classic yet modern style Riojas. The two Mencos wines come from a beautiful parcel of vines with an average age of 35 years, situated on the south side of the Ebro River. This vineyard, with chalky clay over gravel, is well suited to the Tempranillo grape. The younger wine, “Joven” which translates to young comes from this vineyard's younger vines.
In 2010 Iñigo released a second label to compliment his flagship Conde de Hervías wine: Mencos. The philosophy behind this second label is to produce classic yet modern (not oxidized) style Riojas. Mencos comes from a beautiful parcel of vines aging an average 35 years on the south side of the Ebro River in Torremontalvo. This vineyard, with chalky clay over gravel, is well suited to the tempranillo grape. The young wine comes from this vineyard's younger vines while the older vines are used primarily for the crianza. The wines are decidedly Spanish due to their aging in American barrels handed down from the Conde De Hervías. Ignacio studied at the University of Bordeaux and the wines reflect a clear elegant style. Vinification is all done with indigenous yeast and the must are not over extracted so as to pursue elegance over power. His philosophy at the estate is based on harvesting ripe grapes that are not overly mature.
The Rioja DOC sits astride the Ebro river, as it winds its way from its source in the Sierra de Cantabria range, to the Mediterranean at it's mouth just below Barcelona. Divided into three subzones, wines of Rioja often depend largely on which part of the region the vines are grown.
To the northwest lies Rioja Alta, where Tempranillo and Garnacha vines grow on the higher elevations of the foothills of the Cantabrias. Next to it is the Basque region of Rioja Alavesa, where the Alava province juts into the Ebro Valley. To the southeast is the hotter, Mediterranean-influenced Rioja Baja, where more of the native Graciano is blended into the area's reds.
Rioja's wines have historically been simple reds, blended and aged in American oak. An influx of French winemaking practices led to more refined efforts at estate-bottling and more judicious use of oak, and more French oak at that. Nowadays the region is struggling to find a cohesive identity, producing excellent wines of both new and old world character.
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