$150/bottle retail if you could get it stateside...
Last Fall in Amsterdam, after tasting through much of the Manuel Quintano line-up, I got a chance to taste the sublime.
On offer today are two new Quintano single-vineyard-designate releases, never before seen in the USA, hailing from two legendary plots of ultra-low-yielding, gnarly goblet-pruned 70- and 80-year-old vine Tempranillo and Garnacha, located on uplifted seabeds in the upper reaches of the Rioja Alavesa region.
Single-vineyard designates, or ‘Viñedo Singular’, are relatively new to Spain and consist of the most unique parcels recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture. Certified as singular examples, each wine must pass a Council panel tasting right after fermentation and then again prior to release in the marketplace. The wines must be determined as ‘excellent’ in the organoleptic analysis and equal to a minimum of 93 points on the OIV tasting sheet used by the Council.
The first ‘Viñedo Singular’ is from the El Saúco vineyard. El Saúco is a key component to the consistently 96-100 point scoring (Wine Advocate), $300-$450 Contador bottling from Benjamin Romeo. It is also the source for his 95-point scoring, $225/bottle blanco known as "El Saúco Parcel No. 5".
This is pedigreed soil to say the least.
The Los Herreros vineyard is even higher up in Rioja, located just outside the remote village of Quel, the home of famous Spanish poet and playwright, Manuel Bretón de los Herreros. The vineyard is an amalgam of sand, silt and micro-layers of clay, located right next door to the El Arca Vineyard (featured in the pic above), itself a $125/bottle old-vine Garnacha. Again, this is highly-pedigreed soil.
These pinnacle expressions are not inexpensive (these would normally be selling for well over $150/bottle in US); however, they are fantastic. At $49/bottle, I think these are quite reasonably priced.
I was lucky to get my hands on 20 cases of each (each has less than 250 cases produced).
Given the tiny quantities and to make it more digestible, I thought it best to just allow you to mix-and-match with the other Manuel Quintano selections. Everything in the MQ portfolio is quite age-worthy and insanely reasonably priced IMHO.
On the palate, these wines remind you of highly refined Burgundy or Bordeaux, exquisite structures and pinpoint accuracy layered over lithe, sinewy structures that will require a bit of time and patience.
I hope the collectors amongst us jump at this opportunity. With an aging potential of 15-20+ years, these wines were built to the nines and would be fantastic additions to your cellar. Again, very specific, tiny plots of ancient vines, hand-harvested and matured in a no-expense-spared French oak regimen.
Manuel Quintano "El Saúco" 2018 Rioja Alavesa
From an 80+-year-old vineyard plot of the same name, El Saúco is 100% Tempranillo rooted to sandy calcareous soils from an ancient seabed located at about 1500 ft. in elevation. The finished product is aged in French oak for 20 months before bottling, and has a big, bold graphitic structure elevated with outstanding minerality - Bordeaux fans should absolutely love this wine.
Deep, dark garnet on the pour, a broad fruit spectrum is wide across the (still) youthful bouquet (it is a 2018 after all, crazy!) framed by a new wood, no-expense-spared profile. Just as broad and long on the palate, with incredible, rich and dense depth, the graphite is just beginning to emerge amidst deep blackberry jam and vanilla blossom flavors. The finish is long and resonant with cherry-spiked oak spices. The best is yet to come from this bottle, give it a good 24-48 hour decant now to see the potential!
With so little to go around, and with what would likely be a $150+ retail price (were you able to get it stateside), these are, again, quite reasonably priced at $49/bottle.