18 February 2013

Rioja from Bodegas Franco-Españolas

Bodegas Franco-Españolas was founded in 1890 by a French négociant named Frederick Anglade Saurat. France at the time was suffering heavily from the phylloxera infestation and wine buyers were looking to establish operations in other countries like Spain. By the 1920s, the Spanish owners bought out the French partners but retained the "Franco" part of the company name.

For a long part of the company's history they have been focused on exports, so there are two main product lines: stronger Bordeaux-style wines under the Bordón name and lighter Burgundy-style wines under the Royal name. Note that I'm just talking about body here--all of the grapes are native to the region.

With the international wine market changing, they're focusing a lot more on the US these days, and if you go to the website you'll see that it's offerent in three languages: Spanish, English, and Chinese. While the Chinese wine market is exploding (particularly for high profile French wines), this is the first time I've seen a Spanish website with that option. You're much more likely to see an offering in the local language like Galician or Catalan.

2011 Rioja Royal Viura
100% Viura
$10, 12.5% abv.

Looking back through my notes it seems like a very long time since I've had anything with Viura in it. This mild white wine has bright acidity with a slight touch of ash and minerals. The fruit flavors are restrained but overripe, ending with a clean finish. A really great bargain and highly recommended.

2008 Rioja Bordón Crianza
80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha
$12, 13.5% abv.

Another good bargain, this more traditional Rioja has gentle strawberry aromas and flavors with mild tannins. More wood comes through on the long finish. Great wine with a thick ham sandwich on a rainy winter afternoon.

2006 Rioja Bordón Reserva
100% Tempranillo
$15, 13.5% abv.

Another great thing about Rioja is how you can pick up a six or seven year old wine for such a low price. And it's not just old, but properly aged. Light aromas of black fruit with very gentle tannins. Elements of plum and red cherry with a touch of leather and cedar. While it would pair well with rare beef, I found it very enjoyable just on its own.

Note: These wines were received as samples.


sonoma private wine tours said...

Spanish and French wines tastes good and are perfect for cooking and dining. By the way, thanks for these detailed list and guide.

Max Armstrong said...

in my humble opinion nothing can beat the French wine. They are perfectly blend just like what i found during my Napa Valley wine country tours.