The French winemaker and consultant Michel Rolland and the Spanish wine entrepreneur Javier Ruiz de Galarreta have joined together in an innovative initiative to showcase the major assets of Spanish wine: an outstanding terroir and a level of quality that is renowned worldwide. The fruit of this collaboration is three wines —two reds and a white— produced in three of the country’s most renowned designations of origin: Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Rueda.
Michel Rolland, one of the world’s best known winemakers, has had a decisive influence on many aspects of the wine industry, both in his native France and worldwide. The R&G project is the first time he has expressly associated his name with a specific wine-making project. This is because he has become very deeply involved, from the selection of plots and terroirs to directing work in the vineyard and supervising wine production, the objective being to create great wines that retain the identity of their origins.
Javier Galarreta founded Araex with a number of wineries in 1993 in order to market Rioja Alavesa wines. The group acts as an export department for the wineries involved —Luis Cañas, Amaren, Lar de Paula, Labastida, Baigorri, Altos de Rioja, Heredad de Baroja and Montebuena. In 2001 it broadened its scope to other areas in response to growing interest from foreign markets. These days the Araex group and Spanish Fine Wines are one of the leading exporters of high-end Spanish wines.
In developing the R&G project, Araex and Spanish Fine Wines took responsibility for the sales strategy and marketing of the wines. “We want the wines to be a benchmark for their designations of origin and also for them to embody a concept of Spanish wines through excellent positioning in international markets,” explained Javier Galarreta at the specialist press launch that took place in Madrid on 14 October last year.
According to Galarreta, “R&G Rioja 2010 is the embodiment of a very special place, Rioja Alavesa, where sustainable and precise viticulture is practiced based on Tempranillo, a grape variety with great character. This distinctive, full-bodied and delicious wine features both height and depth.” Malolactic fermentation is carried out in new American oak barrels, where it is aged for 10 months and spends at least four months in the bottle before being put on the market. On tasting, the wine has a very concentrated dark cherry colour. It has a lively and delicate bouquet, with liquorice and fresh fruit notes typical of the Tempranillo variety, and hints of spices. There are also noticeable tones of preserved fruit. On the palate it is broad, meaty, complex, powerful and very elegant. In the mouth, soft tannins and notes of liquorice stand out. This is a wine with structure and a silky, long, delicious and lingering finish. It is particularly recommended for serving with red meats, stews, game and cured cheeses.