Telmo Rodriguez’s fame, infamy to some, began to grow in the 1990’s when he became the face of his family’s winery in Rioja Alavesa, Remelluri, Already an outlier with its all estate bottlings, Telmo introduced new French barrels (Rioja producers almost exclusively use American Oak barrels) and eschewed the regions traditional nomenclature; Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva. The wines were hit and a favorite of critics, excited by a new fresh take on this storied region. It was during this time that Telmo started to really take notice of the fact that the most dramatic vineyards in the area were abandoned. These sites were on precipitously steep slopes, with old vines of native varieties. He began to realize the sheer potential of these forgotten sites and the path toward his future endeavors began to emerge.In 1994, Telmo, along with his partner and friend, Pablo Eguzkiza, began Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez, a project intended to identify and restore ancient, indigenous varieties in top vineyards throughout Spain. The philosophy was simple: to recover some of the country’s formerly great, abandoned vineyards and focus exclusively on native varieties. They now produce wine in nine regions across Spain: Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Toro, Rueda, Cigales, Valdeorras, Cebreros, Alicante and Málaga. Today we are very proud to offer perhaps Telmo’s most ambitious project, Bodega Lanzaga.Telmo and Pablo bought a cool, dark 17th century bodega in Oullari, a tiny village five miles south of Haro. It’s a tiny twin-chamber affair which holds maybe 30 barrels. Backed into a little mountain, it is fresh and clean-smelling with the requisite rioja mold on the walls and stays at a constant 12 degrees. The year was 1999 and this is the spot they chose to attempt to revive what had almost completely been lost to history. The wines that existed pre-phylloxera, pre-chemicals, pre-machines. With the help of the native strains of Rioja yeast and a little gravity, they make everything by hand using three large old foudres. The wines take 12 months to go through malolactic fermentation. Even though the wines seem “new” the term “modern” does not fit what they do. If the Bodegas in Haro are the “traditional” producers, then Bodegas Lanzaga is a pre-traditionalist. Bodega Lanzaga now consists of 19 hectares of organically farmed vineyards split between the villages of Lanciego and Labastida. Telmo's goal is to recreate the vineyards of 150 years ago, where 50 varieties would be planted together. All new plantings are planted exclusively to bush trained vines and are planted to a variety of strains of Tempranillo and Garnacha as well as ancient cultivars, such as Viura, Moscatel, Maturana, Blanca Roja and Gran Negro. These are true field blends, planted to both white and red varieties. All of the wines are fermented with local yeast strains that exist in the cellar.
Earthy , Fruity , Spicy