La Tercera Reserva
La Tercera Reserva is a wonderful textbook example of what Rioja wine is all about. If there was one word to communicate Rioja it will be the word diversity. Climate, soil and grape diversity leads to consistency of quality year after year. La Tercera is the result of blending the best terroirs from the three well known subzones of Rioja: Rioja Alta, Alavesa and Baja. Each of these areas is unique and complementary, allowing Rioja to craft extremely consistent wines. In hot years the best grapes come from Rioja Alta, in cold years Rioja Baja is best suited due to its warmer microclimate. Rioja Alavesa is always in the middle not as hot not as cold, making it a good midpoint of balance. Additionally, La Tercera is a blend of three most important grapes of Rioja: Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano. Just like the different terroirs impart their own character and specificity to La Tercera, each variety brings forward unique element that when blended together produce something greater than if each grape was bottled on its own. Tempranillo is responsible to bring body, structure to the wine. Its flavors are more driven by spice. Garnacha is bright, energetic, lovely acidity that makes the wine sing. Its flavors are red berry like. Graciano is also a variety that contains wonderful acid, which is responsible for bringing a certain lift to the wine not only in flavors and sensation but also in terms of ageing. It is acidity that allows a wine to age. Its flavors is dominated by black spice. La Tercera is aged for a total of 3 years, out of which 30 months are in barrel and 6 months in the bottle before release.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? A textbook example of what Rioja is all about. it blends the three subzones of Rioja (Alta, Alavesa and Baja). it also blends the most important red grapes of Rioja (Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano). La Tercera is a selection of the best barrels of these three grapes from these three unique subzones. La Tercera is a classic Rioja that is aged for a total of 3 years!
RATING HISTORY: 2010 93RP
GRAPE: 90% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha, 5% Graciano. Vines tended in limestone, chalk, clay and river stone soil at 568 m (1,865 ft) elevation.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Partridge, quail, duck, stewed pork, cured meats, cured cheeses, roasts and game.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Fermented for 28 days in stainless steel tanks. Aged for 30 months in French oak barrels followed by 6 months in the bottle.
PRODUCTION: 20,000 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The vineyards are located within Spain's most prestigious wine region, La Rioja (zone 3 and 4) Its climate, which has both Atlantic and Mediterranean influences, and its variety of soil make this D.O. unique and special. The average temperature from April to October is 61°F and the average annual rainfall is 18.3 inches. The vines are tended in limestone, chalk, clay and river stone soil at 568 m (1,865) elevation through sustainable viticulture.
TASTING NOTES: Spicy cherry, blackcurrant, lavender and pipe tobacco on the highly perfumed nose. Sharply focused and juicy, offering lively dark berry flavors and notes of candied flowers and bitter chocolate. Sappy and linear on the incisive finish, which is firmed by dusty, fine-grained tannins and a kick of tangy acidity. I suspect that this wine will age gracefully on its bright acidity and balance.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold