2013 Bodegas Palacios Remondo "La Montesa" Crianza Rioja

SKU #1287012 91 points Wine Spectator

 *Top 100 of 2016, Smart Buys* A thick texture carries plum tart, orange peel, toasted vanilla and anise flavors in this ripe version, balanced by juicy acidity. The spicy, berry-scented finish is long and pure. (TM)  (12/2016)

K&L Notes

Alvaro Palacios has roots that run deep into the soil of Rioja. He was born into one the region's most prestigious winemaking families, the force behind Palacios Remondo, yet his interests have always been grander. Rather than slide simply into a position at the family winery, Alvaro decided to go out and do his own thing for a while. During the eighties, he worked in Bordeaux with Jean-Pierre Moueix, then decided to purchase his own winery in Priorat where he worked avidly to help put that region on the map. During that time, Alvaro has advocated for the lesser known wine regions of Spain, eventually coming back to the family winery in Rioja. Once home, he set to work using his experiences elsewhere to get the business back on track, while at the same time rethinking exactly what Rioja is about. Today he's considered one of the region's forward-thinking leaders. There's a reason Alvaro Palacios was named Decanter magazine's "man of the year" for 2015. He's completely reimagined what it takes to make top quality Rioja, with the goal of maximizing terroir, cutting back on oak, and showing respect for the land. As a result, the wines from Palacios Remondo have become brighter, livelier, and more expressive since his return, but the best is still yet to come. The 2013 "La Montesa" Crianza is a perfect example of that promise. 2013 was a vintage that really highlights freshness over intensity and aromatics over richness.

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Price: $14.99
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Staff Image By: Heather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/10/2017 | Send Email
Having tasted a few of Alvaro Palacios' wines, I was excited to try the new vintage, though surprised to see that it was in a "Burgundy" bottle. Often times in Rioja, producers will use this shape of bottle (as opposed to a "Bordeaux" bottle) to denote a softer, more delicate or feminine style of wine. Sure enough, upon opening the bottle, I was thoroughly surprised by the delicate, poised character of the wine. Made from Garnacha, this wine displays softer tannin and slightly lighter body than many of its Rioja neighbors, yet without loss of vibrancy. Elegant red fruit, subtle earthy notes and fine grained tannin are the core of this wine.

Staff Image By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/10/2017 | Send Email
La Montesa is poised to become one of the consistently great (read: best under $20) red wines available from anywhere. Thanks to Alvaro Palacios' years of experience in Rioja and Priorat, as well as his insistence on re-invention, we can continue to look forward to the wines he's producing at his family winery in Alfaro, Rioja. This is pure Garnacha driven Rioja (70% Garnacha, 25% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo) from a vineyard covered in large stones . The freshness from Garnacha, as shown in flavors ranging from red fruits to orange peels, combined with marked minerality and subtle earthy savor, makes for a delicious example of Rioja. An entirely original red that is a pleasure to drink.

Staff Image By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/10/2017 | Send Email
This is the most complex and enticing sub-$20 red wine that I've tasted in years. But the more our buyer Joe Manekin told me about the winemaker Alvaro Palacios, the more I understood the dynamism of the "La Montesa." Do a Google search for Alvaro and you'll find nothing but praise, respect, and gratitude for his work on behalf of Spanish wine over the last three decades. He's a heralded leader for the genre, especially in Rioja where he's returned home to enhance his family's Bodegas Palacios Remondo property. The 2013 La Montesa is an absolute revelation in the glass. The nose is full of berries, brush, earth, and even a bit of black truffle. On the palate, there's a savory element mixed with fine tannins, linear minerality, and a lithe freshness on the finish. This is more than just a "smart buy" or an everyday red. This is a serious bottle of wine made by a master. The only reason it's $14.99 is because Rioja hasn't quite yet established itself with Bordeaux and Burgundy at this point. But Alvaro is working to change that. With more wines like this, he might just have a chance.

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Varietal:

Grenache

- Fat, ripe and rich with ample fruit and vibrant acidity, wines made from Grenache are easy to love. While its origins are still under dispute - some suggest Spain, where it is called Garnacha, while others say it came first from Sardinia, where it is called Cannonau - it is inarguably one of the most planted varietals in the world. A hearty grape, Grenache does well in hot, dry regions and its sturdy stalk also makes it well-suited to withstand blustery conditions like the Provençal Mistral. It ripens at relatively high sugar levels, which translates to higher potential alcohol in the wines it produces. Grenache may be most famous in the Southern Rhône areas such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas where it has long been an important component of delicious blends. But it's also the source of the crisp rosés from Tavel, Lirac and Provence, and age-worthy vins doux naturels like Rivsaltes and Banyuls. Grenache is also found in large swaths of northeastern Spain, in Navarre, in Rioja, where it plays a supporting role in blends with Tempranillo, and in the distinctive wines of Priorat. The grape was once the most widely planted varietal in Australia, though Shiraz and Cabernet have overtaken it. In California, Grenache plantings have dwindled from their heyday in the San Joaquin Valley, but it is starting to see a resurgence, albeit in smaller plantings, where other Rhône varietals thrive.
Country:

Spain

- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.
Sub-Region:

Rioja

Alcohol Content (%): 14.5