2015 Bodegas Palacios Remondo "La Montesa" Crianza Rioja

SKU #1387074 93 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark A very cool wine. Made from almost all garnacha, it has a depth and intensity with a minerality and saltiness. Plenty of strawberries and flowers. Medium body. Vivid and focused. Lovely finish already. Drink now. Made from organic grapes. Inner quote mark (7/2017)

92 points Decanter

Outer quote mark Spot-on: La Montesa is now in its right place. Ripe, polished Garnacha, with notes of herbs and spice, and a slight seasoning of Tempranillo. Long, confident, finely integrated oak, full-flavoured finish. (SJE) Inner quote mark

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark Always a sure value, the 2015 La Montesa, has been increasing the amount of Garnacha in its blend, and here it reached 92% with the remaining 8% being Tempranillo. La Montesa is the name of a large estate where different lieux-dits, or "parajes" in Spanish, contribute to the blend of Valtomelloso, Valfrio and Valviejo. The grapes were hand-picked throughout October, then destemmed, crushed and fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats, with remontage, where it also underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine matured in barrel for 12 months before being bottled. There is a big jump from La Vendimia to La Montesa in finesse, freshness and subtleness. The tannins are ultrafine, and the flavors are intense and deep, with some spicy undertones and a very tasty finish. Amazingly good. A whopping 650,000 bottles and some other formats produced. The quality is amazing for the volume, and it's also a good value. (LG) 92+ Inner quote mark (2/2018)

92 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark Silky and polished, this red is graceful and lively, with cherry, raspberry and orange peel flavors mingling with clove, toast and mineral notes. Lively and energetic, showing purity and balance. *Smart Buys* (TM) Inner quote mark (8/2018)

91 points Vinous

Outer quote mark Youthful violet color. Vibrant red fruit, floral pastille, cola and exotic spice aromas show excellent delineation and pick up a minerally flourish as the wine stretches out. In a juicy, energetic style, offering appealingly sweet raspberry, cherry-cola, star anise and mocha flavors that deepen on the back half. Finishes with resonating red fruit and floral qualities and harmonious tannins that come on late. (JR) Inner quote mark (2/2019)

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 '80s 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 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.

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Product Reviews:

By: Sharon Kelly | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/26/2018 | Send Email
This lush, spicy gem is full of gorgeous, red berry aromatics, with good concentration on the palate, acidity that makes it all extremely well-balanced and definitely not over done. On a recent chilly Los Angeles evening it was a satisfying and soothing warm embrace after a long, long day. This is a wine that makes you say aahh..

By: Kate Soto | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/17/2018 | Send Email
Bright and fresh Garnacha with juicy cranberry, raspberry, and currant flavors. This has an elegant, medium-weight texture that makes it great for weeknight pork chops or weeknight porch pounding. Producer Alvaro Palacio is a bright star in Spain's winemaking firmament, and this is an easy wine to love.

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/14/2018 | Send Email
There is a depth and complexity of fruit on the nose that not only places this Rioja as best in class, but probably in the running for best in show at under $15. Mixed berry and red fruit aromas show the warmth of the zone and the Mediterranean qualities of the vintage, but also the sparkle of good quality, clean grapes, carefully harvested, skillfully vinified and aged by one of the Spanish masters. Fresh, plump, spicy and downright delicious on the palate, this is undoubtedly the best vintage of La Montesa ever made - drink it up!

By: Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/13/2018 | Send Email
Outside my specialty categories of the Rhone and Loire Valleys, my next destination is always Rioja. Some of my favorite reds range from the daily drinker Crianzas to the ultra-chic and collectible Gran Reservas. "La Montesa" sits quietly towards the daily drinker side but what a drinker indeed. It is fleshy and beautifully fruited with all the spices that mark a classic Rioja. Smooth and supple it does not wear down the palate with oomph. It is balanced. My new go-to wine for a plate of grilled lamb chops, some roasted vegetables and a Garbanzo bean salad.

By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/13/2018 | Send Email
This is a fantastic take on a Crianza Rioja, with juicy red fruits and a good firm structure playing nicely against each other. This is a great introduction to Rioja, or for someone wanting a lighter style. It's very approachable, not overly big or broody. This is very high quality wine in this price point and would make an easy choice for a crowd-pleaser at dinner.

By: Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/13/2018 | Send Email
I hadn't realized this wine had come into the stock when I opened the 2014 for dinner last Sunday. I'm so glad I did. Getting to taste these back to back was the perfect reminder of just how good these wines are. The 2014 which was so vibrant and fresh is overshadowed by the quality of the 2015. While the acidity is still very present, the ripe fruit of the '15 just takes this wine over the top. The is a touch more oak on this bottling, but it's still perfectly balanced because there is more stuffing to work with here. A testament to the winemaker for adjusting his approach based on vintage. I love this wine just as much as the previous vintage, the only thing that has changed is what I will pair it with. While I tended to lean towards lighter fish and chicken dishes with the leaner 14, I intend to pair this with more robust meals like pork or lamb chops and heavier chicken stews.

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