Las Beatas 2011 Telmo Rodriguez
2011 is the first vintage for a single vineyard wine called Las Beatas. As soon as I saw the wine being poured in the glass I couldn’t help but think about Monty Python: And now for something completely different! Putting my nose in the glass just confirmed my first impression this is completely different, ground-breaking Rioja! From 2012, it will only be aged in foudre (1,200-liter) but part of the 2011 was in 225-liter barriques. The texture (and now that I think about it, the color and the nose too!) is like a Pinot Noir from Chambolle-Musigny. This was one of the first vineyards Telmo and Pablo bought when they earned their first money, somewhere between Brinas and Labastida, in Las Beatas, where the soil is terraced and planted with mixed varieties. They have been buying all the surrounding plots, in some cases just the abandoned terraces. They restored the old walls and had to replant some vines, and in 2011 they mixed the original old vines with the new vines (they have 7-8 varieties co-planted) and produced this beauty of a wine, which aged in their cold cellars at a very low temperature. The color is a bright pale ruby, and it has an intoxicating nose. It’s a very aromatic, delicate, floral wine with silky tannins and pure flavors showing very young, extremely balanced, complex, and subtle, with tension and great acidity. Very perfect. They only produced 500 bottles in this initial vintage, but they have potential to produce up to 7,000 bottles, as they have 8,000 vines there. Their doubt is if they should age the wine for much longer in high-volume oak vats before bottling to really express the character of the vineyard or continue doing it like this. In any case, this is superb Burgundian, ground-breaking Rioja.