We love Rioja. The wines are so versatile: they are generally sufficiently fruit forward to drink upon release, often times structured and serious enough to age, and amongst the most food friendly reds around. But the unoaked wines are not without merit as well. Especially for summer drinking, where fresh fruit expression often trumps oak derived nuances.
Based in the Rioja Baja town of Alfaro, Burgo Viejo consists of six families pooling together their vineyards and resources to produce very good wine. In the 2009 Burgo Viejo Rioja, Tempranillo forms the backbone, bolstered by Garnacha and Mazuelo (Carignane). This wine is all red macerated cherries, with excellent purity, texture and character, no doubt due in part to the malolactic fermentation and ageing taking place the old fashioned way, in concrete vats. This is undoubtedly one of my favorite young Riojas I have yet to taste this year. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer, 8/22/2011)