Two Wines on Wednesday this week, both from the Rioja 100Km of Diversity tasting last week.
Phinca Hapa 2020, Rioja Blanco, Bodegas Bhilar
Deep in colour with peaches and tangy orange peel on the nose. Both flavours continue on to the palate, blending in perfectly with opulent apricots, lime zest, and a strong mineral element. A fascinating and original wine.
#39.95, currently on offer at €25 from Searsons, Monkstown, www.searsons.com until the 24th September.
Bodegas Bhilar was set up in 1999 by David Sampedro and his wife Melanie Hickman. He is from the Rioja Alavesa, she from Hawaii. Today the vineyards are biodynamic and they specialise in small batches of single vineyard wines. The minimal intervention sustainable winery is built partially underground with concrete fermentation tanks. It is “off grid” using solar power.
There has been a lot of excitement about a new generation of Viura-based white wines from Rioja. This wine certainly fits into this category. The single vineyard Phinca Hapa is a blend of 82% Viura, 12% Garnacha Blanca and 6% Malvasía, fermented on the skins and then aged in large oak foudres.
Cantos de Valpiedra 2019, Finca Valpiedra Rioja Crianza
This is a very attractive smooth mature wine with elegant dark fruits, a subtle spiciness and tobacco. Medium-bodied, tannin-free and supple, this modern style Rioja offers very good value for money.
€21 from JNwine.com, Theallotment.ie.; The Vineyard, Belfast; The Vintage Wine Merchant, Antrim.
I would try this with white meats with a bit of flavour; roast pork or herby grilled chicken.
Finca Valpiedra is a single vineyard estate set up in 1994 by the well-known Martínez Bujanda family of Rioja. It has been part of the Grandes Pagos organization since its inception. The vineyard is relatively big, some 80 hectares close to the Ebro River in Rioja Alta. There is an excellent Reserva white wine fermented and matured in French and American oak, an unoaked Petra de Valpiedra, and the flagship red Finca Valpiedra Reserva. The Cantos de Valpiedra is the Crianza and comes from select stonier parcel of vines on the estate. It is made from 100% Tempranillo and aged for twelve months in 70% French and 30% American oak.