Ostatu Gran Reserva 2011
This wine is a single-vineyard Gran Reserva from one of Ostatu’s oldest vineyards planted in 1945, El Rincón. It is located in the heart of Rioja Alavesa, near the village of Samaniego on a small south-facing slope, at an altitude of 600m. Planted to traditional, goblet-trained tempranillo and graciano vines, El Rincón has poor clay soils with a limestone-rich subsoil, which is responsible for the incredible structure and longevity of their Gran Reserva. The village of Samaniego is famous for producing tempranillo which makes up the backbone of many of the most epic Rioja reds capable of improving in bottle for decades.
Ostatu is “Rioja mountain wine,” meaning their vineyards are located at very high altitudes in the foothills of the Sierra de Cantabria mountain range, where they are protected from the cold northern wind. This region is characterized by very old vines. The poor soils and the unique location at the foot of this mountain range create a special microclimate ideal for tempranillo grapes to have a long maturation, developing complex aromas and flavors. Samaniego is located directly in the convergence of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean climatic influences, which meet in Rioja Alavesa, molding the character of the vintages. This unique soil and climate also lend a certain austerity and structure to Ostatu wines, which differentiate them from other subzones’ Rioja wines. Ostatu is pure Alavesa mountain wine, born of an extreme climate. Many have made comparisons with the best wines of Italy’s Alto Piemonte and Valtellina regions; we don’t disagree.
Vintage – 2011 was a top, benchmark year for Rioja Alavesa. It was a warmer and drier year when the Mediterranean climate was dominant, giving powerful, concentrated wines of excellent quality. High altitude areas like the village of Samaniego did particularly well, as grapes benefited from the massive diurnal shift between day and night temperatures, as well as a gentle cooling influence from the mountain. These conditions served to preserve refreshing acidity, with ample fruit and ripe tannins, producing an incredible Gran Reserva wine.
Vinification – Grapes were hand-harvested, with only the best bunches selected. The grapes are destemmed with a brief intracellular cold fermentation, followed by crushing and fermentation with native yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats, followed by malolactic fermentation in new French oak barrels. It is then aged 24 months in 1 and 2-year-old 225L barrels and an additional five months in old 4,000L foudres. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered in September 2014.