Luis Cañas, Rioja Gran Reserva, 2014
Gran Reserva is a style that possesses the best that Rioja has to offer. The extended barrel ageing time of 2 years in 70% French and 30% American oak (all new) is paramount in the expression of these wines and this one in particular does everything right as far as the style is concerned. Without being overly rich, the nutty and leathery tones that hold the, ever so slightly, macerated fruit within are not only incredibly well crafted, but head swayingly pleasant. Close your eyes and you’re taken away to a place where comfort and elegance exist with the backdrop of Spanish Tapas and warm autumn breezes. How this wine is so inexpensive is beyond us. Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to have this treat with a nice steak, lamb, or pretty much any meat or stew.
In 1970 Luis Cañas changed two hundred years of tradition and became the first winemaker in Rioja Alavesa to bottle his young wine rather than sell it as bulk. This bold move, and his continued pioneering spirit, has cemented the winery’s enviable reputation as one of the most progressive in the region. Sheltered below the watchful Sierra Cantabria, the vineyards are all old, small plots on chalky-clay soils with a dedicated team of vineyard workers carrying out organic practices and a purpose built, fully equipped accommodation block was built for the entire vineyard team in 2006. Today, now in his late 80’s, Luis still leads the annual harvest, standing at the head of the selection table, keen to ensure that only the best parcels of grapes are used in his wines. His son, Juan Luis Cañas is now the powerhouse behind this highly accomplished winery, but everywhere you go there is a feeling of family, and especially of the lasting legacy that Luis Cañas will leave for both his son and the Alavesa.
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