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LAN: Rioja Wine You Need to Try

LAN: Growing grapes and making wine with ecological conscience.

LAN wines are estate grown and bottled in Rioja, famous for their vino tinto (red wine) using Tempranillo grapes. La Rioja is in Northern Spain, about a five hour drive or train ride from Barcelona. Bodegas LAN has been making wine in this region since 1972, where grapes are harvested by hand and respectful care of the grapes and land are supported by sustainable viticulture practices.

“Ecological conscience has been at the heart of our project since its inception, in the understanding that we are all dependent on nature and responsible for its conservation, a philosophy that has led us to take extreme care in looking after our raw material and its natural environment.” ~Bodegas LAN

I was in Spain earlier this month, but sadly did not make it to Rioja. So, thanks to Stefanie at Gregory + Vine, I get to travel there vicariously through LAN’s 2011 Reserva and 2014 Crianza!

LAN CRIANZA 2014

Crianza literally means the wine is aged in oak. In Rioja, “vino con crianza” a wine matured in oak, also means it has been aged for at least 2 years. Reserva is aged 3 years, and Gran Reserva spends 5 years in the barrel before being released.

The 2014 Crianza is made with 95% Tempranillo, and 5% Mazuelo from 10 to 20 year-old vines—aged for 14 months in hybrid barrels (American and French oak), followed by 9 months in the bottle.

Tasting Notes: Brick red in the glass, with black cherry, dark fruits, and that familiar leather note often found in Tempranillo. Although, it’s not rough, dusty leather with heavy tannins. It has a softer feel to it, with more of a medium-full bodied suede mouthfeel and nice long finish. Loved the touch of tart acidity as well.

We’ve all heard about Spanish wines being an “excellent value”. Well, it’s true! The 2014 Crianza retails in the $12.00 range, which is beyond humbly priced. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this bottle. I’ve tried not so great Crianza in the past around this price point, so I truly was pleasantly surprised at how drinkable this was. So, stock up!

2011 RESERVA

LAN’s 2011 Reserva is 92% Tempranillo and 8% Graciano, made with selected grapes from 20+ year old vines.

It is also aged in hybrid barrels containing both French and American oak, but longer than the Crianza—16 months, and 24 months in the bottle before being released.

Tasting Notes: Deep garnet in the glass, dried dark fruit, mild tannins, and smooth mouthfeel. I felt the Reserva was actually quite similar to the Crianza, just a little fuller body and overall richer flavor—again, excellent for the ~$15 range. Both wines are easy drinkers and can be paired with most dishes, as they aren’t over powering, big red wines.

Pinot Noir gets a lot of love around Thanksgiving time, so save some money and place either of these bottles on the table (or in beautiful decanters) and your guests will be perfectly happy.

“Bodegas LAN is full of meaning. The name itself is an acronym based on the initials of each of the three provinces that form the D.O.Ca. Rioja: Logroño (currently part of La Rioja), Alava and Navarra. LAN is Rioja in three letters. Each of our wines shows respect for the land it comes from.”

Just be sure to drink it at the proper temperature (~65°F). In the past I’ve opened Spanish wine at Arizona’s “room temperature” and trust me, any red wine close to 80°F will taste flat and harsh. Bleh.

According to Miquel Hudin (you can find him on Instagram @mhudin, he also wrote a fantastic book on the Priorat wine region of Spain), I need to try LAN’s “A Mano”, which I read is a Limited Edition, luxury artisan bottle made with 80% Tempranillo, 8% Mazuelo, and 12% Graciano grapesall hand-harvested from 35-40 year-old vines in their Viña Lanciano estate. One can dream…

Highly recommend LAN! Both the Crianza and Reserva were very good for the price! Although both bottles were samples, all opinions are my own. Cheers!

“If we sip the wine, we find dreams coming upon us out of the imminent night” ~D.H. Lawrene

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I'm a wine enthusiast with an applied science degree and WSET certification. Cheers to being happy & healthy (so you can enjoy more wine!) Follow me on Twitter: Misty@RedWineCats & Instagram too: __MistyC__

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