Perhaps the most famous wine-producing region in Spain, Rioja produces remarkable wines year after year. Find out more about some of our range below.
There are now numerous different styles of Rioja for us to enjoy and simply saying “Vino Tinto por favour” to your waiter won’t cut it anymore; well not if you don’t want to miss out on the good stuff, anyway.
Let me tell you a little about our favourite Riojan winery, or ‘bodega’ in Spanish. Bodegas Perica is a wonderful family-run winery, based in the heart of the Rioja Alta sub-region. The chalk-rich soil in Rioja Alta, with the unusual combination of cool winters and hot summers, means that wines produced in this region are rather wonderful, which is great news for us wine enthusiasts. Originally started by Juan Garcia as a small project to quench the thirst of his family and friends, Bodegas Perica initally didn't even have a name. As it gradually grew and as his son reached adulthood, a fruitful business had been established. The son’s nickname at the time was Perica and hence Bodegas Perica was born. The winery is now in hands of Juan’s grandson and the family still really care about wine production. So much so that his 3 very young children have already decided which positions in the winery they are going to manage when older and have chosen their studies accordingly.
So just what makes the Rioja's so special?
All of their vines are between 60-100 years old and thus produce wonderfully concentrated flavours and characterful wine. The Garcias also do everything by hand, despite the extra costs and time involved. This ensures grapes of only the highest quality go into their wine and that they reflect ‘terroir’ in their style. Aiming to ‘retain the best of the region’s tradition, but with a distinctly contemporary twist’, Rafel uses French Oak to age his wines. Traditionally Riojas are aged in American oak, which gives an aromatic, smokey wine. French oak gives the wine different characteristics, with hints of vanilla coming through at the finish. Unlike most producers, who choose to replace their oak barrels every 15 years, Rafel replaces his every 5th year. Hence every vintage had those wonderful characteristics from the wood. Using these techniques, Bodegas Perica produces four very different, but equally wonderful, styles of Rioja.
Producing a mere 9000 bottles a year of each variety, the 6cepas6 Riojas are truly special. Marked by their quirky, distinctive branding (perfect for gifts), the red bottles depict Spanish traditions whilst the white has things commonly associated with Spanish holidays. These wines, like their unique packaging, are outstanding and have already been picked up by Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe. The Bodegas Perica 6cepas6 White Rioja 2013
is my all-time favourite wine from our entire portfolio. To taste, it’s very fruity on first sip, with hints of vanilla and perhaps fennel coming through and a wonderful buttery finish from that French oak. The Bodegas Perica 6cepas6 Red Rioja 2011
is (almost!) as good, but more is best paired with food and is excellent with Spanish delights such as cured meats and Manchego cheese. Aged for 6 months, it has great oaky structure giving hints of spice that perfectly balance the black-current and berry goodness.
Un-oaked, i.e. not aged, these Riojas are more simplistic, but very enjoyable to drink. The lovely Bodegas Perica Mi Villa White Rioja 2012
is so crisp, fresh and fruity that it’s particularly easy to drink. The Bodegas Perica Mi Villa Red Rioja 2012
is unusually light with lovely berry and cherry flavours. It might horrify you, but I would even advise trying this slightly chilled on a hot (i.e. not English) summer’s day, it’s refreshing. Or if you cannot face chilling a red. Why not try a Rosado from one of the world’s top rosé producers? 100% Garnacha, the Bodegas Perica Mi Villa Rosé Rioja 2012
is savoury and dry and will go perfectly with garlicy prawns!
These Riojas are smokey, oaky and traditional. Christened the ‘Olagosa’ range, due to a lake, or ‘lago’ in the middle of it’s vineyards, they are classified by how long they are aged, with Crianza, meaning 2 years and at least 6 months in oak, Reserva for 3 years with at least 1 year in oak and Gran Reserva spends 5 years aging, with at least 2 years in oak. Generally speaking, the more the Rioja is aged, the more it will carry the characteristics of the oak. The Bodegas Perica Olagosa Crianza, Rioja 2009
has won best Crianza Rioja in the world 2 years running at the International Wine Rotary club.
The Perica Oro
, is made from only the finest of vintages and translates as ‘the family’s gold’. Using only their best vines the Garcias age this wine for 24-28 months in oak and then for a further 18 months in the bottle, with a mouth-watering result. Limited edition this wine is 95% Tempranillo, with a hint of Graciano to add depth. With beautiful aromas of black fruits and herbs, the smell alone is enough to get one salivating. Perfectly balanced, it’s ripe and flesh and has wonderful length in the mouth (after you swallow). Perfect for big meaty dishes that need a big, characterful wine to hold up against their strong flavour. So whichever style you choose do me a favour and drink it with thought, remembering just how much care and work has gone into it; look for interesting flavours and taste the superb Riojan climate. Hasta Pronto! Felicity