Castillo de Viñas Rosado: A Traditional Style, Revived (à la López)
Bodegas López's iconic Rosado has levitated into the realm of unicorn wines. It goes for more than $100 a bottle! Not bad for a pink wine that not too long ago would sit around waiting for an intrepid tippler to have their arm twisted by a proselytizing sales clerk.
What happened? Well, people started to figure out that López was one of the last practitioners of Rioja's ancient technique of bottling long-aged rosés. López was preserving a style of wine that — while possibly challenging to someone looking for a simple summer sipper — that offered a savory, umami complexity interwoven with its pretty fruit and minerality. A nearly dead style that needed to be preserved.
López is a paragon of traditional Rioja in three colors: tinto, blanco and rosado. But they're not the only producer looking to preserve tradition. We've found an amazing rosado with eight years of bottle age that puts its own special spin on the old school style.
Unbelievably fresh for a 2015, there's more of an emphasis on fresh fruit flavors that every rosé lover craves (strawberry, hint of watermelon) than in López's. And with subtle richness on the palate, a backbone of minerality and umami, you're led to just one place: Rioja. A blend of the traditional Garnacha and Viura (40%) grapes, in addition to the maturity, the wine picks up depth from the use of a touch of lees-aged wine in the final blend (about 5%).
Is this a stand-in for López? No, it is not. But it is a distinct expression emerging from the same tradition, one with the kind of personal twist that makes it even more crushable on a hot summer day. And better yet, it costs a fraction of what Lopez sells for. You'll definitely want to try this.
Castillo de Viñas Rosado 2015 $19.99
Bright and delectably-fruited with the classic rioja signature of strawberries and cream as wells hints of peach, guava and watermelon, that give way to a salty, mineral complexity and shockingly long finish for a wine of this price. The depth and complexity sneak up on you and make this is a rosé that can do it all: sip it on its own in the sun; enjoy it with a light meal of vegetables and seafood; or go nuts, and watch it stand up to a burger off the grill!
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