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The Real deal
27 October 2022

Rioja is famed for blending different parcels and grape varieties to create delicious, consistent, age worthy wines. Therefore, a single vineyard Rioja made solely from 30-year-old Tempranillo vines is somewhat anomalous, but worthy of further exploration. Real de Asúa was an experimental concept born in 1994 as a dedication to the Real de Asúa brothers, who founded the winery. Over time it has been condensed to a single 2.37 hectare plot called Carromaza (now stated on the label). Unlike quintessential Rioja this is all about amazing quality fruit and freshness. It is a portrait of terroir, and a ringing endorsement of where and how the fruit is grown. Carromaza is situated in Rioja Alta in the village of Villalba. This south facing vineyard lies at an altitude of 555 metres and is heavily influenced by the Atlantic. Strong winds require the vines to be trellised, and the vineyard can be affected by spring frosts. However, its location in the foothills of the Sierra de Cantabria Mountain range provides essential protection from these climatic factors. To further contravene Rioja conventions, the wine ferments and undergoes malolactic fermentation in 225L French barriques using wild indigenous yeast. Moreover, once racked it spends much less time ageing, just 12 months in new and second fill barrels, before judicious bottle ageing. The 2019 was bottled in February 2022. To release at its pinnacle, CVNE has refrained from giving it a traditional age statement. A wine that demonstrates immense restraint, the fruit character is elemental and precocious, showing lashings of cherry, luscious floral aromas, rugged wild herbs and delicate hints of oak spice. It finishes with a creamy smooth texture and lithe tannins. If you could bottle purity and grace, it may well be adorned with a wax seal and have Carromaza stamped on the label.

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