The Señorío de San Vicente
This incredible wine has been in our memory since it was first produced with Marcos Eguren taking us to the vineyard in a 4x4 and getting it stuck in the mud! It’s from a single vineyard (La Canonica) just outside the small village of San Vicente de la Sonsierra in the Rioja Alta and it was a project of Sierra Cantabria to make a luxury Rioja. Well, they certainly did!
To begin with, they planted an old clone of the Tempranillo grape called the Tempranillo Peludo (the hairy Tempranillo) so called because the back of the leaf has small hair like structures growing on it. The grape variety is naturally low cropping with tiny berries that gives and outstanding aromatic profile and thus the quality of both grape and wine that it produces is excellent.
The vineyard itself is only 18 hectares large and the limestone clay soils there are perfect for this variety of Tempranillo. Only organic fertilizer is used here. Marcos Eguren’s (the winemaker’s) father thought he had gone mad planting this variety and using so much new oak (100%) making it an expensive bottle, but immediately he tasted it he knew Marcos had done well.
Spending around 20 months in the new oak barrels,90% of which are French and only 10% American oak, it produces wines that are complex and that can age gracefully for years. Right back in the first vintage, they also produced and unoaked version just for education and we used to taste both wines side by side. It really showed us how the terroir could shine through, something that had previously not been possible due to the enormous blends wineries used to make.
This 2018 vintage was awarded 94 points by the wine advocate and should age well for a further decade or so. Senorio De San Vicente Rioja San Vicente 2018 has a promising nose of wood smoke, spices, lavender and blackberry fruit. Dense, rich and concentrated on the palate, with plenty of succulent, savoury fruit and serious depth yet with great freshness thanks to the 1600 foot altitude of the vineyard.
This wine is a must for any serious Rioja lover.