Hacienda El Indiano
Hacienda El Indiano is a small production wine produced from old vines tended throughout the different Rioja subzones (Rioja Alta, Alavesa and Baja). The greatest virtue of el Indiano is the fact that it blends the climatic and grape diversity of Rioja, resulting in a wine that shows consistent quality year after year. in short, Haciando el Indiano is a blend of blends. La Rioja Alavesa and la Rioja Alta, located closer to the mountains, are at slightly higher elevations and have a cooler climate. La Rioja Baja to the southeast is drier and warmer. In Rioja producers seek acidity/freshness in Alavesa, tannins/structure in Alta and riper sweeter fruit in Rioja Baja. If Rioja was restricted to one climate, Rioja will also be restricted to fewer grapes, hurting its blending capacity which ultimately affects its consistency to produce top quality wines year after year. As with the finest red wines of Burgundy, Bordeaux or Piedmont, Hacienda El Indiano bears the distinct and unmistakable stamp of this terruño (terroir) from which it comes from. With great clarity and precision, it sings the music of its specific birthplace. With accent notes of baking spices and crushed black pepper, El Indiano shows structure and intense silky fruit that make it one of Rioja's jewels.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? A small production wine the speaks the language of Rioja. Produced from old vines that are dry farmed and organically grown. Hacienda el Indiano is a blend of blends. It blends the Graciano, Garnacha and Tempranillo grapes from the three microclimates (Rioja Alta, Alvesa and Baja).
RATING HISTORY: 2011 91IWC; 2009 92RP, 2008 RP&IWC
GRAPE: 80% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, 10% Garnacha. Biodynamically grown vines planted from 1932 - 1938. Tended in limestone soil at 650 m (2,132ft) elevation
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Typical of the best Riojas that show a classical balance of rich aromatic density and plush fruit on the palate, there aren't many foods, casual or haute cuisine, that this wine won't compliment well. At the top of the list are roast suckling pig, grilled lamb skewers and grilled grass-fed beefsteak.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Fifteen days of pre-fermentation “cold soak” maceration to enhance the wine's fresh fruit aromas and deep colors, and fifteen days fermentation. Fermentation is carried out using the vineyard's own indigenous yeasts. After fermentation, the skins are pressed and the wine is aged for ten months in French oak barrels, of which 25% are 400-liter barrels, 50% are new 228-liter barrels and 25% two-year-old 228-liter barrels. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barrels and the wine is normally bottled in September.
PRODUCTION: 1,300 cases (6 pack)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The vineyards are located in Zone 3 and Zone 4 in the region of Rioja. The vineyards are organically farmed. The soils profile is rich and diverse, combining limestone, sand, clay and riverstones. The climate of the area has an average temperature from April-October of 61F with 24.4 inches of yearly rainfall. The moderate warm days and cool nights of this Atlantic/mediterranean climate forces the grapes to ripen slowly, resulting in wines that are fresh, aromatic and have expressive fruit flavors.
TASTING NOTES: Sexy aromas of cherry-cola, smoky dried minerals, flowers and new leather. Dense and penetrating, with appealing sweetness to its dark berry and spicecake flavors. Becomes smokier with air and finishes with silky tannins and excellent persistence.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold