The winery was formed by Don Luis Alegre in 1968, in the beautiful walled town of Laguardia, Rioja Alavesa. The family owned some of the finest and most sought after vineyard properties in the region. Investment in the late 1990s led to a state of the art, four-floor, gravity-fed winery, and Bodegas Luis Alegre is now taking its wines to the rest of the world.
Bodegas Luis Alegre works to a simple rule, to make the best wines from the remarkable vines that they own. There is a skilled team at the helm, experts in every detail of winemaking, such as oak authority Alejandro Simo, who chooses the finest oak from Missouri and France and oversees its curing at the winery. Winemaker Marta Gallego Ezquerro is a winemaking graduate from the University of Rioja, with extensive experience not just in Rioja itself, but also in Galicia and New Zealand.
The grapes are sourced from several single estate vineyards owned by the winery, with an average age of 80 years. The viticulture is totally focused on achieving the highest quality possible, this includes severe pruning to limit yields and thinning of foliage, which promotes vine health and leads to perfectly ripe grapes. The harvest is manual, done in 12 kilo boxes which then goes on to a selection table installed in the vineyard (a first for Spanish wineries), where the first selection process is carried out., before the second in the winery. Fermentation takes place over 10-15 days at an average temperature of 23C. Then the wine is aged in specially selected new French oak barrels from the finest forests of France for a period of 18 months or so, vintage dependant. For 2000 it was 20 months. They prefer to use the finest new French oak barrels for less time, rather than for longer in lesser quality oak just to achieve the Gran Reserva ageing requirements. The wine is aged in the bottle normally for a minimum of 24 months before being released, but this wine is a real relic having been in Luis Alegre’s ‘Cathedral’ in perfect conditions for years and released especially for Oddbins as a small one-off parcel.
A dark ripe cherry red, with ruby notes at the core, it has aromas of pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon, with red and black fruits and sweet notes of vanilla. On the palate it is elegant, juicy, fresh and well-balanced. The tannins are well integrated, with a long, soft and savoury finish. It would be beautiful with juicy lamb chops and chargrilled roast vegetables.