Bodegas LAN, Crianza Rioja


This is the wine for which Bodegas LAN are best-known - they have had huge success with it because it is simply so good. Smooth and balanced yet will full red fruit flavours and loads of lovely spicy influences like toffee, vanilla and cinnamon, you'll find it becomes a very good friend as soon as you meet it.

A pioneering wine, this was the first in their winery to be made using hybrid barrels of French and American oak in the same barrel. The result is a broad-flavoured elegant Crianza that shows characteristics you'd expect from a Reserva. Refined texture, elegant structure and a long flavour-filled finish.

Made from 10-15 year-old vines, you get way more than you'd expect from other wineries at this price - the result is that it's hugely versatile and very fine indeed. The grapes come from their own vineyards as well as long-term contract growers who grow in accordance to the winery's preferences and sustainable philosophy.

One of the really interesting things about this wine (the one that you could boast to your friends about...) is the hybrid barrel element - they are the only winery in Rioja who use barrels made of two different types of wood, American staves and French tops and bottoms. This was the first wine that they tried the barrels on and it became an overnight success. They reckon it gives the wine the complexity and structural elegance from the touch of the French, with the subtle but gorgeous elements of American oak (typical vanilla and creamy notes) from the slightly higher stave quantities. It's aged in these barrels for a minimum of 14 months and then bottled with almost no fining or filtration, where it then rests for another 9 months... it's a long process, especially for a Crianza at this price point, and means that by their own constructs their current most youthful release could be the 2021 vintage, but in reality, that wine is still sleeping in their cellars and we might have some of the 2020 before too long. We're currently still very happy with our 2019 lot, thank you very much. In many other Rioja houses, this is the same vintage that we're drinking for their Reservas...

There isn't a rush in this winery and that's one of the other very endearing elements to this wine and to the winery as a whole. They are well-able to put out huge and expensive wines (see their Culmen...) and single site, single plot wines even, but even at this end of their scale there is the same attention to detail and care you'd expect to find at the top.

Interestingly, the winery has vineyards in both Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Alta and unusually blends from the two regions for their 'classic' lines - the Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva. It's because for establishing a thumbprint or a calling-card identity, they believe in an essence of style and a communication of a concept, rather than necessarily of just one place. They make spectacular single-vineyard wines, but for a style representative of their long tradition and their history in the Rioja zone, they reckon that sourcing from both subzones suits their goals best.

The wine is made in a fairly traditional manner with the exception of some temperature control. This has a dual purpose: first and foremost to enhance and retain the bright red fruit berry-like flavours from the grapes, and secondly it allows for a greater level of consistency from one vintage to the next - the flavours will be more likely to be similar, which is better for the customer experience, if the ferments can be controlled in this way.

The vineyards are all very important of course and do offer great quality whether from the legendary Lanciano vinyeard or from other corners that run to the Ebro river, there is a rich bounty of quality throughout. The telling of this in the wine making process comes to the fore with a three-week maceration process - the amount of time that the grape skins stay in contact with the juice after it has been fermented - which is done in order to get the most of the flavour and structure into the wines. Balanced by temperature controlled ferments and elegant, non-intensive ageing and you get this wonderful balance for which the wines have become famous.

The winery is a young one - established in 1972, they have not quite rewritten the rules, but they have certainly done things in their own way. The biggest thing for assuring their quality being the purchase of the single vinyard Lanciano. this pocket of the Ebro river is the same calibre (indeed the same typography) as Contino, just up the river, with its history dating back a thousand years.

They're just outside the town of Fuenmayor, in wine terms right on the border with Rioja Alavesa; in political terms right on the border with the Basque country. It means that they are very close to their monumentally important single vineyard of Viña Lanciano.

They use a vast array of different oak barrels, used according to the grape variety and style of wine that they are seeking to achieve - the hybrid being a lovely example of initiative.

The wines have been made by María Barúa since 2002 and her specific expertise in oak use has led to these developments that allow for myriad flavours of the grapes themselves to be experienced, rather than just the flavour of oak. Funny in this day of oak use being abandoned across the board, her argument is that there is no need to reduce or do away with barriques at all, because there will always be  a place for them, so long as the right barrels are used with the right wines!

Region: Rioja

Country: Spain

Grape(s): Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Garnacha

Style: Structured, Smooth, Pure, Perfumed, Medium Bodied, Juicy, Fruity, Elegant, Creamy, Bright, Balanced

Best food matches: Veal, Tapas, Steak, St Stephen's Day, Roasts, Ribs, Red Meats, Poultry, Pizza, Pasta, Lamb, Hard Cheeses, Grills, Duck, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Beef, Barbecue

Alcohol: 13.5%

Why buy from us?

When you buy wine from The Allotment Wine Co. you're helping a small Irish company that in turn supports small, sustainable wine producers who grow the grapes and make amazing wines. We only work with partners who share a deep respect and connection with the land and its traditions, witnessed in a firm commitment to quality and sustainability. All of which makes for better wines.

Delivery & Returns

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We charge €7.99 per delivery for quantities less than that.

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Wine orders for delivery in Dublin, received before 12pm on weekdays are prepared so that delivery should be expected the next working day.

Wine orders for nationwide delivery, received by 12pm on weekdays are prepared so that delivery should be expected two working days later.

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Patrick H.
Hi, I'm Chris Gifford.

And you're very welcome to The Allotment Wine Co.

When you wine from me, you're supporting a small Irish business which in turn supports small, sustainable wine producers, as well as other small, dedicated Irish wine importers.

When selecting wines, I look for partners who share a deep respect and connection with the land and its traditions, witnessed in a firm commitment to quality and sustainability. All of which makes for better wines.