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Rioja's New Rules: Remelluri's Single Village Labastida

At its best, drinking a glass of Rioja feels like sitting next to a fire, cozy and content. But a single village wine from Remelluri is proof that Rioja can be just as thought-provoking and terroir-driven as any great wine.

The small villages of Rioja are pure charm, and Labastida is no exception. Politically, it’s part of the Basque region, although when it comes to wine, its soul is pure Rioja. This section of Rioja, Rioja Alavesa, with its high elevations and rocky soils, is known for leaner, more chiseled wines than the sunny, low lying plains.

The vineyards of Remelluri have produced wine since the medieval period, but it was only in 1967 that the Rodriguez family purchased the old and abandoned property. From the very beginning, the goal was to produce genre-defining Rioja, and the estate produced the appellation’s very first single vineyard wine in 1971.

Remelluri’s Lindes de Remelluri is another groundbreaking style choice in Rioja; it’s a single village wine, inspired by Burgundian labelling, and coming from vineyards in and round the town of Labastida. Where Rioja has traditionally valued the cellaring process of a wine (designating wines as Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, depending on time spent in barrel and in bottle), there’s a new push to honor the various terroirs. The DOC has recently made changes allowing for wines to be labeled with the names of villages, single vineyards and Rioja sub-regions, standard practice in most famous wine regions but massive progress in Rioja.

These new regulations help to demystify the monolith of Rioja, and we couldn’t be more excited. We love Remelluri’s classic, age-statement bottlings, but to begin to explore terroir-specific Rioja is a thrill. We’re very happy to share it with you today.

Remelluri, Lindes de Remelluri Rioja Viñedos de Labastida, 2015
A blend of 90% Tempranillo, with 5% each Garnacha and Graciano added for complexity. This is classically Rioja in temperament, with notes of dark cherry, cassis and tobacco, but there's a lifted minerality thanks in part to the high elevations and stony soils of Rioja Alavesa. It's a rich enough wine to pair with heartier food, but it'll be just as welcome in warmer weather, with grilled lamb or chorizo or a simple burger.