Grape(s): 80% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, 10% Graciano
Localization: Rioja Alavesa, Spain
Tasting Notes: Deep red cherry color. The nose is intense, dominated by red fruits from the Garnacha along with raspberry and black licorice from the Tempranillo. Letras Minúsculas is a powerful and complex wine, an explosion of fruit that offers soft tannins, yet firm enough to provide the wine with a good structure. The oak component is subtle and well-integrated.
Notes: The wine is produced with grapes from plots: Laguilera, Iscorta, and La Rueda, they are carefully selected and picked by hand. The three varieties are vinified separately. The tempranillo goes through cold maceration for two days in stainless steel vats where it stays through alcoholic fermentation, then the wine is transferred to 2-year-old French oak barrels to go through malolactic fermentation and age for about 8 months. For the Graciano and Garnacha fermentation and aging occurs in concrete vats.
Food pairing: Works brilliantly with bbq.
The Domain: Creaciones Exeo is a new wave Rioja producer, stepping away from traditional methods, using neoteric techniques to produce fresher styles of wine with a lesser reliance on oak influence. Located in the area of Labastida, Rioja Alavesa, they work with 6 hectares of the highest altitude vineyards of the area. In the shelter of the Sierra Toloño, the vines benefit from Atlantic influences and the soils here are mainly chalk and limestone. This is a personal project of winemaker Carlos Fernandez’ which he began in 2010. Carlos takes ultimate care in the way he handles every element of the winemaking process. All grapes are carefully selected and hand harvested. The varieties are vinified separately, with little influence of oak to ensure varietal purity. Their Rioja Alavesa ‘Letras Minúsculas’ is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Garnacha. The wine combines maturity and complexity without relying on excessive use of oak or extractions. Beautifully elegant and crushed stone, black and red fruits and firm, muscular palate. Carlos Fernandez’ has been named Grower of the Year by Tim Adkin MW in his 2021 Report Report.