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Macan Rioja 2009
As with all Vega Sicilia projects, the commitment to absolute quality is obsessive. Yields are kept to 3000 kg per hectare, compared to an average of more like 6-7000 kg in the region. Grapes are picked by hand, and loaded into shallow 12kg plastic crates to prevent damage during the short journey to the winery. After super-gentle crushing between rubber wheels, the must goes into a combination of wooden and stainless steel vats for a 2-day pre-fermentation maceration, before temperatures rise to 28°C during a cuvaison of approximately 15 days. Malolactic conversion 30 to 50% in barrel, the remainder in tank , then 12 to 15 months ageing in barrel - extra-fine grain French oak uniquely - before selection for the first and second wine and blending. Further 2 years ageing in bottle (this is Vega!) before eventual release when the wines are judged sufficiently approachable for pleasurable drinking.The style of the wines is certainly not ‘traditional’ Rioja - after trials, they decided against American oak – but the style is not modern "alto expresión" either. Perhaps the term Neo-Classical is most apt, with complex mineral-infused fruit and discreet oak influences, underpinned by a fine but firm structure.