One of my favorite wineries in Rioja, Bodegas LAN has a longstanding history in the region. Having visited the exceedingly difficult to find winery a few years back, I was able to take a tour and sample some of their best bottlings. These are wines those who enjoy balanced Rioja/ Bodegas LAN was founded in in 1972. LAN is an acronym based on the initials of each of the three provinces that form the D.O.Ca. Rioja: Logroño (currently part of La Rioja), Alava and Navarra. Their oak program is particularly interesting as French, American, Russian and hybrid barrels (American staves and French oak heads built in the same barrel) are utilized in the blending. Bodegas LAN’s estate Viña Lanciano Vineyard parallels the Ebro river and is set on 72 hectares. Grapes for their premium bottlings, the Viña Lanciano, the LAN A Mano and the Culmen. The vineyard has 24 plots, and is planted to Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Graciano and Garnacha vines, aged on average up to 60 years. During harvest grapes are hand-harvested and once in the winery, bunches and grains are individually selected by hand prior to fermentation.
One of the best values in Rioja that I have sampled in the past year is the 2012 Bodegas LAN ‘Crianza’ (WWB, 90) which is a wine that shows wonderful layers and freshness. A complete stunner is their 2012 Bodegas LAN ‘A Mano’ Rioja (WWB, 93) which is dense and meaty, with dark fruit flavors and an incredible minerality. Many of these wines, particularly their ‘Crianza,’ ‘Reserva’ and Gran Reserva’ bottlings are distributed in the Pacific Northwest. You can even find some of these wines in grocery stores, such as QFC or Met Market, as well as Total Wines. Learn more about Bodegas LAN at http://www.bodegaslan.com Here are the great new release wines by Bodegas LAN.
2012 Bodegas LAN 'Crianza' Rioja- This wine begins with aromatics of red cherry, dill, sage and hints of pipe tobacco. The palate is dense with flavors of red currant, red cherry, smoke, cigar box and hints of sagebrush with cranberry. Dense, layered and having lovely structure this wine drinks beautifully straight out of the bottle. Drink 2016-2024- 90
2008 Bodegas LAN 'Gran Reserva' Rioja- Having a densely colored hue, this wine begins with aromatics of black tea, black cherry, and coffee grounds. The palate has nice weight with flavors of red cherry, red currant, pipe tobacco, black olive and hints of baking spices. This has lovely weight on the mid-palate and the lively acidity suggests this will be a long-ager. Drink 2016-2028- 92
2011 Bodegas LAN 'Vina Lanciano' Reserva Rioja- Made from Tempranillo with Manzuelo and Graciano, this wine is only made in great vintages. The wine begins with aromatics of red cherry, baking spices, red raspberry and teaberry with hints of milk chocolate. There are ripe flavors of red cherry, cedar, black pepper and sage. Medium bodied and lithe, this wine is pretty hard to resist right now. Drink 2016-2026- 90
2010 Bodegas LAN 'Culmen Reserva' Rioja- This excellent bottling has 15% Graciano blended into the Tempranillo. Having a dense core, the wine begins with an aromatic profile of cedar, black cherry, kalamata olive tapenade and raspberry preserves. The wine has deep flavors of black cherry, coffee grounds, milk chocolate and suggestions of Mandarin orange rind and cran-cherry. Polished, with a dense texture, this is impossible to resist right now. Be sure to give this at least an hour decant if enjoying young. Drink 2016-2028- 92
2012 Bodegas LAN 'A Mano' Rioja- This fantastic Rioja wine is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 12% Graciano and 8% Manzuelo that was hand-harvested from the Vina Lanciano estate. The wine was first aged for seven months in French oak and further aged for another six months in Russian oak. Following a one hour decant, this wine opens with aromatics of black olive, black cherry cough syrup, crushed mint and Turkish coffee. There are deep flavors of black cherry, Marcona almond, boysenberry preserves and hints of pipe tobacco. Tannic and deep, this will be a long-ager. Drink 2016-2030- 93
2011 Bodegas LAN 'A Mano' Rioja- This stunning Tempranillo wine begins with a bouquet of dark cherries, pipe tobacco, black olive, and wild blackberry jam. There are rich flavors of black cherry, cassis, milk chocolate and graphite that sit alongside some gritty tannins. This is a wine with immense potential. Be sure to give this at least a two hour decant if enjoying young. Drink 2016-2030- 93