2010 Ángeles de Amaren Tempranillo y Graciano, Rioja
Amaren Winery aims at producing wines of distinctively-high quality and “achieve excellence and pursue perfection”.
The wines are all released under the Rioja DOCa appellation and include manly reds: a Crianza, a barrel-fermented white, a Reserva, a varietal Graciano, and the vino de autor called ‘Angeles’ tasted here.
Amaren means “the wine of the mother” in Basque language, and this cuvée by Bodegas Amaren bears the first name and is a tribute to Juan Luis Cañas, owner of Bodegas Luis Cañas: Ángeles.
Ángeles de Amaren is a special selection of grapes from old vineyards in the Rioja region (average age of the vines is 40 years): 85% Tempranillo 15% Graciano.
After vinification, the wine was aged for 16 months in new oak casks: 50% French 50% American.
Beautiful dark red color. Dark and intense to the core making it look nearly black, yet bright red and purple to the rim. A 6-year-old wine that looks like a baby with super-soft shiny skin.
Just as it felt good to look at, it feels good to smell it!
The intensity is the first positive attribute here. But it would be nothing without further qualities, which it also has.
It’s extremely fruity, and also oaky as the main aromas. Cherry liqueur and strawberry jam notes are coated in coconut cream, caramel Bourbon liqueur (kind of like a Bayley’s liqueur but even sweeter-smelling), and peppery spices.
Powerful smell, yet you feel it is (still!) a rather young wine, with complexity and potential, yet still restrained in the aroma profile.
Putting the wine in your mouth tells the entire tale…
Abundance of fruity characters (cherry liqueur, the strawberry jam again) are coated in luscious and super-intense caramel and coconut flavors.
Oily texture is joined by smooth and dense tannins giving the whole an impression of absolute lusciousness although the wine is overall dry.
A Rioja wine that is an exemplar, a model of what a modern-style wine from the region can and should taste like.
It is actually stunningly well-made, providing an absolute lusciousness that is a combination of ripe fruit and perfectly executed winemaking. Fruit, spices, caramel, and a great balance between sweet and savory flavors make for a faultless tasting experience.
It is soooo well made, one wishes it would however show more uniqueness and a touch more of its own personality rather than an international wine style.
A masterpiece of winemaking that will content lovers of deep and profound oaky Rioja wines, but will leave those after further typicity slightly perplex.
I personally enjoyed it a lot, though conscious some palates may find it ‘over-the-top’ despite its relative flawlessness.
Worth a try for sure to find out which camp you’re in, unless you’re alreay an expert 🙂
Learn more about Amaren and find all their wine reviews with our Bodegas Amaren winery profile: