Ostatu, Rioja “Escobal”
Ostatu, Rioja “Escobal”

Ostatu, Rioja “Escobal”

Rioja, Spain 2019 (750mL)
Regular price$23.00
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Ostatu, Rioja “Escobal”

 There are two main narratives about Rioja which continue to shape consumers’ perceptions. One centers on its many large, historic bodegas, whose massive stocks of aged/aging wine are unrivaled. Another highlights the different categories of Rioja wine (Crianza; Reserva; Gran Reserva), which are defined by the length of time each spends in wood barrels, then bottle, before release. What’s less talked-about, but no less important, is the terroir of Rioja, how it varies, and how it impacts the character of the wines. That’s the conversation they’re trying to advance at Bodegas Ostatu, with single-vineyard bottlings like “Escobal.” This family is well-known for its meticulous Certified Organic farming, which produces wines of exceptional purity and energy.

The Sáenz de Samaniego family has been farming in their namesake village in Rioja Alavesa since the 16th century, and their current headquarters are in a former inn that dates to the 1800s. Their viticultural roots go back about 250 years, but bottled wines bearing the Ostatu name first appeared in 1970, when Doroteo and María Asunción Sáenz de Samaniego were at the helm. Four of their six children modernized the estate in 2002, with invaluable input from Hubert de Boüard de Laforest of Bordeaux’s Château Angélus.

Vines in the “Escobal” parcel were planted in 1995 and are rooted in a mix of clay, limestone, gravel and sand. This bottling is 100% Tempranillo fermented on indigenous yeasts in stainless steel, aged five months in used, 500-liter French oak foudre and then 11 months in 10,000-liter oak vats. It’s a wine of deep concentration and polish, but the balance is impeccable, with no excessive oakiness. It displays heady aromas of blackberry, black raspberry, blueberry, dark chocolate, dried herbs, tobacco, humid earth, and baking spices. It is luxuriously textured but also lifted and fresh, without the palate-drying oak tannins that can often shut these wines down. Even the modest bottle age it has received has allowed its flavors to knit together seamlessly.

Ostatu, Rioja “Escobal”


Eastern Spain


The Montsant DO is Priorat’s downslope neighbor in northeastern
Spain, but other than differences in altitude, there isn’t much else to tell their terroirs apart. Both appellations contain some of the world’s greatest old-vine Garnacha (Grenache) in soils of fractured granite and shale known locally as llicorella. It is a Mediterranean climate, with wide diurnal temperature swings.

Eastern Spain


Technically, a wine labeled ‘Cava’ can be produced in several different regions, but Penedès, on Spain’s northern Mediterranean coast, is its
spiritual home. The climate is Mediterranean, the soils a favorable mix of limestone (key in pre-serving acids), sand, and clay, and Cava sparklers are crafted in the traditional ‘Champagne’ method. The traditional grapes used for Cava are Xarel-lo (cha-RAY-yo), Macabeu, and Parellada.

Northwestern Spain


Galicia is lusher, colder, wetter, and greener than most of the rest of Spain, especially where wine-growing
is concerned. Viticulture up here is some of the most “heroic” in the world, as vineyards cling to impossibly steep slopes along snaking rivers such as the Miño and
the Sil. The influence of the Atlantic Ocean is profound, often lending wines a salty, “sea spray” character.

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