Luis Cañas Maceración Carbónica

If you are a La Rioja fan, where the reputation and fame is of wines spending months, if not years, hugging the walls of oak barrels, this month’s review will sound like a sacrilege.

FTR Wine Luis Cañas MR22But hold your horses, for when an iconic bodega like Luis Cañas, renowned for its top-quality, classic Crianzas, Reservas and Gran Reservas made from old vines, ventures into the world of young, fruity, easy-to-drink wines that do not come near a barrel, we need to sit up and listen.

People worldwide are consuming more wine, and there is a global trend and demand for softer easier wines for everyday consumption that do not bite your mouth if not accompanied by the Sunday roast.

The truth is this change is not new to La Rioja. Since the 1990s major producers like Artadi, have sold generic label wine, ditching the traditional aging categories. Neither is Carbonic Maceration, the style of this month’s wine, new to La Rioja.

Carbonic Maceration is the winemaking method, most associated with the French Beaujolais, where whole, intact bunches of grapes are stacked in carbon dioxide filled vessels. The fermentation is caused not by yeast, but rather internally, or inside-out, due to the lack of oxygen. The result is light to medium-body fruit bombs with softer tannins. Small winemakers of Alavesa have been using their cherished Tempranillo grapes to make their own version the Beaujolais style for many years.

Luis Cañas’s carbonic maceration is a very good example of the new trend that is worth trying. Made predominantly of Tempranillo with some Viura (yes, the white grape, presumably to add to the up-front fruitiness and freshness), it has an intense bright and clean, purple-red colour that leaves purplish hue on the side the glass. The nose is dominated by red fruit, and floral undertones. The palette is fruity, smooth with robust body (unusual for a Carbonic Maceration wine). The good acidity and soft tannins give additional persistence.

Overall, Luis Cañas’s carbonic maceration succeeds in offering the reputed fruitiness of Carbonic Maceration while respecting the seriousness expected from a Rioja. Serve slightly chilled (at 14-16C with white meat; pasta; risottos or paella.

88-90 Bruja points. Sold at Carrefour and Alcampo. €5.95 & €6.95

(Feature: Wine)

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