Sierra de Toloño, Rioja Blanco, 2019
Rioja Alavesa DOCa, Rioja, Spain
Sierra de Toloño is a small winery based out of the majestic Rioja region of Spain with vineyards in the village of Villabuena. This village plays an important role in modern Riojan viticultural despite its diminutive population of around 300 people. Refined, elegant, modern wines are produced here with some plantings dating back to the 1950s. Vines here are planted with far less density than traditional vineyards because of the soil condition which forces plants to compete for nutrients. The results are mesmerizing with many winemakers in this sub-region of Rioja garnering international accolades, including Sandra Bravo of Sierra de Toloño who received the honor of Young Winemaker of the Year from acclaimed wine critic Tim Atkin’s Rioja Classification in 2019.
Sandra has made wines in Bordeaux, New Zealand, Tuscany and California and uses her experience to craft wines of exception and distinction. These are not traditional Riojan whites of richness, creaminess and too much oak; instead, Sandra uses amphora, concrete vessels and stainless steel to vinify and age the grapes which come from elevation. The results are precise, intensely pure and possessed of a vision to make delicate wines reflective of the true terroir potential.
The primary aromas of white flowers give way to an elegant and complex background, with subtle toasted notes and pastry notes. In the mouth it is enveloping and silky, with a powerful acidity that allows a long-lasting aftertaste. Put this up against a village-level white Burgundy and prepare to be blown away by how good this wine really is.
Pair with white wine steamed mussels; grilled octopus; coconut curry; filet of sole with beurre blanc; or, rich, creamy cheeses like Délice de Bourgogne.