Elevated Rioja – Wine & Spirits Magazine

Elevated Rioja


In 2012, Sandra Bravo settled in the high altitudes of Rioja Alavesa, where she found small parcels of old-vine garnacha that reminded her of vineyards she had worked with in Priorat. This 2018 is the first release of her Garnachas de Altura, from a collection of small parcels in Rivas de Tereso, a village of 21 people in the northern reaches of Rioja, above San Vicente de la Sonsierra. The vines average 70 years of age and grow at elevations of 2,300 feet in a mix of clay and limestone soils; Bravo has purchased some of the parcels, and farms them all, converting them to organics. She allows the wine to ferment spontaneously in old casks, then ages it in clay pots. You can taste the influence of the altitude and the limestone in the bright, zesty coolness of the fruit, in the light intensity of the strawberry flavors and crushed-black- peppercorn crunch. It’s a lithe Rioja delivering the beauty of the hills, a wine to enjoy fresh and young.

David Bowler Wines, NY

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Bodega Sierra de Toloño 2018 Rioja Garnachas de Altura La Dula

Joshua Greene is the editor and publisher of Wine & Spirits magazine.


This story appears in the print issue of December 2020.
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