Bodegas Amaren, Malvasia, Rioja Alavesa, Spain, 2019
Jon Cañas (Luis Cañas’ grandson) is the imaginative winemaker behind Bodegas Amaren.
Jon has been granted free rein to explore the character of Alavesa’s vineyards, giving us a raw, modern interpretation of Rioja Alavesa. Bodegas Amaren is comprised of some of best and highest altitude vineyards around the villages of Samaniego and Leza, where the soil is poor and gnarly vines, ageing up to and over 100 years old, produces small bunches, perfect for making highly concentrated Rioja wines.
From El Pomal vineyard in the village of Leza planted in 1912. The Malavasia Riojana has, traditionally, been present in their vineyards often as part of a mixed field blend with Tempranillo, Viura and other grape varieties. In this particular old vineyard they have preserved this grape, also known as “Rojal” given the pink hue it takes when ripe.
Manual harvest in baskets and a grape by grape selection at the winery. Fermentation in a concrete 1.700 litre “egg”. Ageing on its own fine lees in the same “egg” for 14 months with weekly Crianza “bâtonnage”. No barrel ageing. Aged for 2 years in bottle in the Amaren cellar before release.
No oak ageing
Clean, iridescent, with an extremely elegant presence. With pale yellow reflections and intense, bright-green hues that highlight its freshness. On the nose there are complex aromas of, ripe pineapple and pears as well as delicate floral aromas such as orange blossom, dried flower petals, nutmeg, and some lovely brioche. The nice, full fruit sensation on the palate always allows space for floral and balsamic essences on the after taste. Very complex. The ageing on its fine lees and “bâtonnage” ensures a rich and full flavour, dense full bodied and long.
A perfect aperitif wine but where it shines is on the table, accompanying seafood, fish with powerful sauces and even meats.
Tim Atkin Rioja Report 2023 94 Points
This wonderful Malvasía hails from a 110-year-old vineyard at 550 metres in the village of Leza. Fermented and aged in a concrete egg, it's rich, concentrated yet well balanced, with citrus and stone fruit flavours of lemon and peach and a salty, stony finish. 2023-28. 94 Points, TA, 2023.
Decanter 96 Points
This is seriously impressive stuff from Jon Cañas- a white made from old vine Malvasia planted in 1912. Fermented and aged in concrete egg, it is terrifically complex. Grapefruit and mandarin orange, smoke and a hint of nut. Drink 2023- 2040. 96 Points, Rioja Guide, March 2023.
Malvasia Riojana/Rojal 100%
6 x 75cl
Award: Wines from Spain Awards 2022
Award: Tim Atkin Rioja 2022 Special Report 93 Points
Award: Guia Peñin 2018 93 Points