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Pagos de Tahola Selección de Martin 2016

Pagos de Tahola Selección de Martin 2016

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  • Rioja - Spain
  • 2016 - Tempranillo-based blend
  • 14.5 % Alc - 750 ml

Perfectly mature, barrel-aged reds have been Rioja’s trademark for centuries. And fourth-generation Ruth Chavarri makes some of the best we’ve tasted.

For her latest release, she went straight to El Toro, her family’s oldest vineyard and home to a plot of gnarled, 50-year-old Tempranillo vines. Dotted with huge (fun to climb!) holm oaks, it’s also a favorite stomping ground for her young nephew, Martin, who is the inspiration for this very wine.

Don’t let the playful origins of the cuvée name fool you, though—this is serious stuff. Ruth and her vineyard team hand-harvested the grapes during Rioja’s officially “Very Good” 2016 vintage; after two years mellowing out in expensive French and American oak barrels, plus an additional four-plus years resting in the bottle, “Selección de Martin” is very ready to impress. (Further proof: a 92-point score from Wine Enthusiast and 90 points from critic James Suckling.

It’s 100% single-vineyard Tempranillo, infused with the signature toasty notes from aging in quality oak. This is a lavish red, with a superb silky texture. As James Suckling says, you can expect "notes of dark cherries and currants with hints of leather, cigar box, coconut and vanilla. Medium- to full-bodied with polished tannins."

Serve with Spanish-style rice dishes, roast chicken or grilled meat.

The old vines of El Toro have painfully tiny grape yields—meaning Ruth only made a small amount of this beauty, and you will have to hurry to get your share.

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