Tabuerniga 2020, Lasbastida, Rioja, Spain
Tabuerniga is one of two single-vineyard wines from the historic village of Labastida, the other being Las Beatas, where they have being growing grapes for over 1300 years. Grown in a tiny and extraordinary vineyard, that came to Telmo and Pablo's attention some 35 years ago while at the nearby Remelluri. It's in a narrow, steep valley that forms a natural amphitheatre and is planted with Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo and about ten other varieties, on terraces of poor chalky, clay soils. The vineyard had been in the hands of the same farmer for 50 years before being bought in 2012. Telmo's statement “We dream of making the best Rioja wine of the 18th century.” reflects the desire to create wines that champion the terroir, traditions and heritage of individual villages, of small farmers and of small vineyards. It's with vineyards such as Tabuerniga that Telmo and Pablo are revisiting how Rioja was made in the 1700s.
Tabuérniga is a brilliant Rioja with great aromatic presence and a palate that beautifully balances richness with finesse. Along with Las Beatas, it is one of the truly elite terroir-based wines being made in Rioja today.
"The superb, complex and elegant 2020 Tabuerniga comes from a challenging year, as the vineyard was hit with hail. It fermented in open-top 3,000-liter oak vats with indigenous yeasts and matured in 1,500-liter oak foudres for 14 to 16 months. The Tabuérniga terraces were the first to be harvested in 2020, from the sixth of October, and still the wine has a moderate 14% alcohol. It's elegant, expressive, clean, focused and balanced, combining power and elegance, with fine tannins and a long finish. 3,960 bottles were filled in April 2022. They have six hectares here, and they only produce this limited number of bottles." Robert Parker 98/100 Drink 2024-34
To many, Telmo Rodriguez, who, along with his sister Amaia, runs the impressive Remelluri winery in Rioja, needs no introduction but it's his partnership with fellow winemaker, Pablo Egnziza that has created the exciting range of wines that come together under the umbrella of Telmo Rodriguez Wines. The two have have spent the past thirty years reclaiming abandoned vineyards of indigenous grapes, across a number of regions. Together they are working with over 350 separate small plots, totalling 80 hectares and 43 different varieties of native grapes.