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The glorious 1999 vintage has imbued the 1999 Loriñon Tinto Crianza with a rich ruby robe. As the wine sits in the glass, a gorgeous bouquet unfolds that reveals both extract and elegance. An amplifying nose proffers copious quantities of red and black fruits, cassis, chestnut, tobacco, spice, and of course vanilla and sweet oak. On the palate, the Loriñno Crianza is smooth and silky, but packed with flavor and nuance. With each sip, the latent goodness of this magical Rioja slowly reveals itself; so don't be in too much of a hurry or you will miss the best that this Crianza has to offer. We suggest that you allow the Loriñon to breath for an hour, preferably in a decanter, before serving it at cool temperature (about 65ºF).
Steaks and chops provide excellent accompaniments to the 1999 Loriñon Tinto Crianza. Beef, pork and lamb are all traditional favorites in Rioja, and we heartily endorse these pairings. But we won't stop there. An herb, butter and garlic roasted chicken provides another perfect foil to this lovely Crianza, as this simple but flavorful dish allows the wine to shine unencumbered. Several meatless pasta dishes also rank among our favorite choices with the Breton Loriñon. High on our list is penne pasta, served with a heady white bean sauce. Made with plenty of onion, garlic, red pepper, and celery, this dish highlights the fresh and elegant side of this wine. Cuban black bean dishes and sizzling fajitas also make for an enviable marriage. Enjoy!
Bodegas Breton is a small but highly respected estate in the Rioja Alta, one of the world's most beautiful wine regions. Founded in 1983, Bodegas Breton is a partnership that includes a 100-acre estate called Viña Loriñon, which is situated just outside of Logrono along the south bank of the Ebro River, and the legendary Dominio de Conté site whose average vineyard age is the oldest in the Rioja. Both sites specialize in the cultivation of the traditional Rioja varietals: Tempranillo primarily, followed by Mazuelo, Graciano, and Garnacha for the estate's reds and Viura and Malvasia for the whites. It is these traditional Spanish varietals that account for the distinctive flavor and style of Breton's wines, as well as the unique taste of Rioja. Although of youthful origin, Breton takes a very traditional approach to its wines. The philosophical bent and overriding objective of the estate is the preservation of the elegant, balanced Rioja Alta style and the longevity for which traditional Rioja is legendary. Since its first release, Bodegas Breton has consistently sought higher extract in its wines to complement the racy, impressive acidic structure that is obtained in their mature, low yielding vineyards. The outstanding 1999 vintage is testimony to Breton's ultimate achievement, as this vintage has supplied both supreme extract as well as elegance to the estate's wines, especially the Loriñon Crianza. Bodegas Breton produces both white and red Rioja. This estate was a pioneer in the production of barrel-fermented dry white wine from 100% Viura. The Loriñon Blanco Barrel Fermented' Rioja is a firm, richly-textured and perfumed wine that improves with age. A more traditional white Crianza, aged twelve months in oak, is also produced. Yet, despite Breton's success with white Rioja, the bodega's red Rioja remains the estate's specialty. The Loriñon Tinto Crianza is considered by critics to be the most serious wine of its type produced in Rioja today. This special wine spends 15-18 months in seasoned American oak barrels, before resting an additional year in bottle. In addition, the rare Dominio de Conté Reserva is produced only in the finest vintages and serves as a reminder of the great age worthiness and depth of Rioja - attributes that made this region and its wine legendary in the 19th century.
La Rioja: A Special Land La Rioja is a land of history, light and color, vines and wheat and above all, people for whom friendship is the greatest possible treasure, asserts the Rioja Bureau of Tourism. Indeed, La Rioja is a special land, etched by history and endowed by wine a wine as warm, friendly, and distinctive as the people themselves. For millennia, vineyards have influenced the history and character of the people in the Rioja. Long before France was the self-proclaimed bastion of fine wine, the Romans had pushed inland into Iberia from the Mediterranean all the way to the headwaters of the Ebro River and its tiny tributary, Rio Oja, from which the region derives its name. In La Rioja the Romans found ideal conditions for the cultivation the vine and quite possibly the very same varietals that flourish there today, most notably the Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Graciano and Garnacha (Grenache) grapes that today constitute the red wine cepage of Rioja. Some French historians even claim that Cabernet, the world's most renowned red grape varietal, originated in La Rioja rather than in Bordeaux, some 150 miles to the north. After the Romans and the collapse of Imperial Rome came the usual succession of invaders, reading like a litany of destruction across the pages of Western Civilization. Yet, the Rioja flourished despite its position at the crossroads of Christianity and Islam; and it emerged intact after a countless array of mediaeval squabbles. On the road to Compostella, mediaeval Europe's greatest pilgrimage site, La Rioja remains a treasure trove of gothic castles, grandiose churches and beautiful monasteries. Indeed, one of the greatest contributions to Spanish culture has its origins in La Rioja: Castillian Spanish. First written by the Spanish priest, Gonzalo de Berceo, in the monastery at San Milan, Spanish is now spoken as a first language by over 300 million people around the world. La Rioja: A Special Wine Like most of the great viticultural regions of Europe, the face of modern Rioja was cast during the 19th century. With the hope of escaping the dreaded phylloxera, the deadly vine louse in Bordeaux, many successful Bordeaux growers began moving south across the Pyrenees to La Rioja in the 1870's. With them flowed the capital and the expertise to enrich and improve the already splendid grapes of La Rioja. They instituted extended barrel ageing, which remains the signature of fine Rioja wines. Even today, modern Rioja spends more time in small oak barrels than almost any other modern wine. And, like Bordeaux, the wine of La Rioja is a blend of up to four premium grapes: Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Graciano, and Grenache. This unique blend of grapes, coupled with a long, lavish hiatus in small, American oak barrels called barriques, produces a warm, very dry, but richly fruity wine of great finesse and perfume that can be nearly immortal in great vintages.
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