Wine of the Year

 

 

 

This is it, our big reveal, PJ Wine’s Wine of the Year! It was a tight race but there can be only one. The winner is Senorio De P. Pecina Reserva Rioja 2013!

Every year we amass some of our favorite wines for our Wine of the Year blind tasting. We taste wines from the past year that have impressed us and also really over-delivered for their respective price point. We place them in brown paper bags to remove any bias and we taste. This year we had fifty wines as contender for our Wine of the Year, but only one can come out on top, and this is it!

The 2013 vintage of Senorio De P. Pecina’s Reserva Rioja is stunning, showing all the classic notes of Rioja - dill, dried fruits, spice and supple tannins. We love this producer, so when we pulled the bottle out of that brown bag we were elated but not surprised. 

For fans of the traditional style Rioja, there are only a handful of estates you can turn to: Lopez, La Rioja Alta, CVNE, Muga etc., you can add one more bodega to the list, Senorio de P. Pecina. Folks, this is the real deal. Pure tempranillo fruit, American oak, barrel and bottle aging, and select harvests. This 2013 Reserva is a must-have for Rioja drinkers, to enjoy now and cellar for the long haul. 

Bodegas Hermanos de Pecina is firmly planted in the old school camp. Although the estate was started only in 1992, its founder, Pedro Pecina had worked for over 20 years prior to that as the head agronomist for La Rioja Alta, learning all facets of production and especially the planting and managing of all the estate’s vineyards. 

The estate comprises of 50 hectares, which is fairly small by Rioja standards. The vineyards are farmed in a natural and sustainable manner. Harvest is done by hand, and the wines are all de-stemmed and then fermented by individual parcels using indigenous yeasts. After fermentation, the wines are transferred to 100% used American oak for aging. They are then racked every 6 months, one of only a few houses that still do the traditional trasiego method by hand. Like the best of the traditionalists, the aging regime in both cask and bottle are well beyond what is required by law.

 

#1 Senorio De P. Pecina Reserva Rioja 2013
Shelf Price $28.99
Sale Price $25.97

93 pts Wine Advocate
The 2013 Señorío de P. Peciña Reserva has freshness and elegance and a lot of characteristics of traditional Rioja. 2013 was a challenging year, but it also provided good conditions to produce fresher wines. This was produced with a soft vinification, not too extractive or long, with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel and matured in used American oak barrels for three years with rackings every six months. It has the telltale aromas of spices and balsam (cigar ash, incense), wet forest floor and wild berries. The palate is sleek and polished, with resolved tannins and good acidity. It should drink nicely for a good five years and stay on a plateau of maturity for longer. 42,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in December 2017.

 

#2 Tommaso Bussola Ca' del Laito Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2016
Shelf Price $23.99

Sale Price $20.97 

The 2016 Valpolicella Ripasso “Ca’ del Laito” Classico Superiore from Tommaso Bussola is made all from very low yielding, old vines of 40% Corvina and Corvinone, 40% Rondinella, 10% Molinara, and 10% Others. Corvinone in particular is quite rare today because of its low yields and finicky growing habits. Yet, Tommaso claims it is the Corvinone that gives his wines their depth. He calls it the “Super Corvina,” saying that it produces stronger, denser, richer, more perfumed wines. This wine offers up a deep, complex, and vibrant bouquet of sweet blackberries, a bit of red currant, a gorgeous array of spice tones, a fine foundation of soil, a touch of new leather, and a top note of sultana raisin. On the palate, the wine is pure, full-bodied and very expressive, with superb focus and grip, a beautiful core of fruit, fine mineral drive and bounce and a long, tangy moderately tannic finish.

Grapes were hand-harvested from vines ranging from 5 to 30 years old, pressed, then fermented with selected yeast for ten days. Then refermented on the skins of Amarone for another ten days. Finally, the wine is aged for 17 months in 700L Austrian oak - second passage.

Ca’ del Laito was a place-name for a vineyard that straddles the ridge above Quintarelli. Tommaso purchased the vineyard (and the little workhouse there) from Masi in ~2002. Tommaso Bussola is now often mentioned along with Giuseppe Quintarelli and Dal Forno Romano as the top estates in the Valpolicella appellation.

 

#3  Gehricke Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Shelf Price $32.99
Sale Price $28.97 

Gehricke is new to the store but has been making wine in Sonoma County for some time now. This bottling hails from the sub-appellation Knight Valley, known for its volcanic soil and higher elevation resulting in wines of finesse.

This Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has spice-driven aromas of cloves, anise and fennel, complemented by notes of dark cherry. The palate holds a fine tannic quality with hints of spice and intense ripe fruit flavors. Following a balanced palate, the finish is long-lasting. 

The 2018 growing season began cooler than usual for Sonoma County, leading to longer bloom time for grapevines. Moderate summer temperatures with fewer heat spikes than previous vintages allowed for a relaxed pace, excellent development of flavors and retention of natural acidity. After being harvested by hand, the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were gently destemmed, fermented and aged in French oak barrels for 18 months.

Enjoy these balanced flavors with semi-hard, aged cheeses like Gouda and cheddar, roasted beef tenderloin with root vegetables or rich pasta Bolognese. 

 

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