2014 Carlos Serres -- Rioja Reserva  -- Rioja, Spain

2014 Carlos Serres -- Rioja Reserva -- Rioja, Spain

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The Carlos Serres winery is one of only a handful in Rioja that have been in business for over 100 years. Carlos himself was actually a French winemaker from Bordeaux (named Charles) exiled by the scourge of phylloxera, who became a passionate advocate for his adopted homeland. He founded an export company as well as a winery and was a founding member of the Rioja Wine Exporters Syndicate in 1907, precursor of today’s Rioja Designation of Origin Control Board. Still family owned, and located Southeast of the town of Haro in Rioja Alta, the wines are produced from sustainably farmed, all estate fruit. This being a Reserva, it must have a total of three years in barrel and bottle before release, but it doubles the required amount of time in barrel to 2 years. This traditional blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano sees a bit of a modern tweek in its use of both French and American oak barrels instead of just American, but the qualities that make Rioja one of the world’s most renowned wine regions are all here. Dried and fresh flowers, leather, brandied bing cherries and red plums, tomatoes and rocks. The age of this wine has mellowed the tannins, so this could use a little extra chill and plays well with grilled meats and dishes with a tomato component.