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  • Date publishedWednesday, June 7, 2023

Barón de Ley Gran Reserva 2015 (Rioja) - Wine Review

red wine review is an excellent, vegan-friendly blend of Tempranillo and Graciano from the Classic European Wine Region of Rioja that arrived at the LCBO recently as part of the LCBO VINTAGES New Release Collection and is still widely available across the province.

It is produced by Barón de Ley, a family-owned winery located in Rioja, Spain's most celebrated wine region with a privileged terroir to farm and craft premium quality wines. A relatively young winery, Barón de Ley was founded in 1985 as a ground-breaking project in DOCa Rioja as a vineyard-focused winery that was inspired by French châteaux and specializing in premium Rioja wines. They are housed in a monastery that was built in 1548 on the banks of the Ebro river where vineyards and winemaking were introduced by monks in 1568. The Estate changed hands numerous times over the years and was eventually purchased by a family that remained there for three generations as they farmed crops and raised livestock until it was acquired and re-born as Barón de Ley. The name "de ley" comes from the Spanish expression for "legit", and at at Barón de Ley they take care of every little detail to offer in every bottle an excellent, trustworthy wine - a genuinely good Rioja.

Barón de Ley launched their first wines in 1990, including this Gran Reserva which is one of the signature wines of the Estate. After growing the business throughout the 90s, In 2000, Barón de Ley renewed their winemaking philosophy with Gonzalo Rodríguez recruited as the new Chief Winemaker, encouraging the planting of new indigenous grape varieties. Success and growth continued over the ensuing decade, and by 2008 they owned over 600 hectares of vineyards across different sub-regions with a variety of micro-climates and soils. In 2018, they renovated their vinification facilities with state-of-the-art winemaking techniques and constructed a new oak ageing cellar to expand their ageing capacity. As a specialist in Reserva and Gran Reserva wines, Barón de Ley honours Rioja's acclaimed tradition of long ageing in French and American oak barrels.

This red wine is a blend of mainly Tempranillo plus some Graciano. The grapes were grown in the best terroirs in their old vineyards in Cenicero, in Rioja Alta, in an area with Mediterranean climate with a clear Atlantic influence, and low yields. These conditions are ideal for creating elegant wines with ageing capacity. After manually harvesting and selecting the bunches, the individual berries were mechanically selected using their state-of-the-art sorting table. This process ensures that only the best grapes are used, which in turn helps deliver the maximum quality of the wine. After fermentation, the wine was aged for a minimum of 24 months in American and French oak casks, followed by a further 36 months in bottle.

Only marketed in the best vintages, the 2015 vintage was a very good one in Rioja that began with a balmy and dry spring. Temperatures rose quickly thereafter, but Rioja did receive some rejuvenating showers in June. Heat records were broken in July and the intense heatwave continued for much of the summer. Fortunately, temperatures cooled for the most part in August and September, leading to an early harvest with balanced ripening and exceptionally healthy grapes. The higher (and cooler) vineyards produced wines of great aromatic complexity and concentration, and stand out for their finesse and elegance. Let's see how this 2015 Gran Reserva from Rioja is tasting tonight...

Barón de Ley Gran Reserva 2015 (92+ pts)

Tasting Note:

BARÓN DE LEY GRAN RESERVA 2015 - Vegan, DOCa Rioja, Spain (#642496) (XD) - $34.95
Blend of Tempranillo and Graciano. Lovely, slowly emerging and complex aromas of Indian spices, red and black cherry, underbrush, forest floor, olive, pot pourri, and sandalwood rise out of the glass. It's medium-full to full-bodied with very good depth and delicious flavours of red and black cherry, spices, cedar wood, underbrush, and forest floor in a dry, lightly tangy profile. It has very good, juicy acidity, while the well-structured, dusty textured tannins are lightly chalky and grippy on the back palate. Cedary, sandalwood, and earthy notes linger on the long savoury finish, with excellent length. Enjoy this highly recommended buy to the end of the decade. Score: 92+ pts

Limited quantities of the Reserva is available at the LCBO, while the full portfolio can be ordered through their Agent - Noble Estates Wines & Spirits.


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