The maximum expression of terroir in Rioja and a truly special wine. It is a blend of nine different grape varieties (none of which is Viura!), fermented in a variety of vessels and aged for 18 months in old French oak. Telmo purposefully avoids talking about the specific grapes that make up the blend as a way to shift the focus from variety to the site’s unique expression.
2017 was marked by the frost on the 27th of April and the warm summer, which resulted in a very early harvest of a small crop that produced a 2017 Blanco with high ripeness. The grapes from the high-altitude, organically farmed vines fermented with indigenous yeasts in small vats and oak casks, and the wine matured in oak foudres and 1,200-liter concrete eggs for 12 months. This is a bit more generous and exotic than the more austere 2016 I tasted last time—it has more volume and is rounder and mellower. It represents the character of the year, more Mediterranean, with notes of hay and straw, reflecting more the character of the Garnacha Blanca. 10,840 bottles were filled in April 2019.
The Remelluri estate was founded by monks in the 14th Century, although there is evidence dating even farther back of winemaking on these premises. The vines changed hands a number of times over the years before being purchased by Jaime Rodriguez in 1967. In 2010, Jaime’s son and daughter, Telmo and Amaia Rodríguez, took the reins and set about making a series of changes to showcase the potential and diversity of Remellur’s different terroirs, and ultimately reclaim Rioja’s viticultural history.
The first major change was to cut down the production of Remelluri wines by one third, restricting it to wines produced from the estate’s own grapes. The two wines made from grapes grown in the surrounding villages are now sold under the label ‘Las Lindes de Remelluri’. Although Remelluri has always eschewed chemical treatments in the vineyard, they gained full organic certification in 2010.
Work in the winery plays a secondary role in Telmo’s philosophy, but great care is taken to make sure that each bottle reflects the terroir of the region: wines are fermented with native yeasts, each plot is vinified separately, new oak is used very scarcely and the wines are very lightly filtered and fined.