Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Food - Con­tact Les­lie Wil­liams at wine@ex­am­ Les­lie Wil­liams

A mini pro­file this week of Roda, one of Rioja’s best new(ish) pro­duc­ers who have man­aged to shake up this most tra­di­tional of wine re­gions. Roda is im­ported by Al­bert Ba­gin­ski of Sol­era Wines who have an in­ter­est­ing bou­tique se­lec­tion of good qual­ity pro­duc­ers.

Roda was founded in 1987 by Mario Rotl­lant and Car­men Dauella, with the name Roda cre­ated by com­bin­ing the first two let­ters of each sur­name. Their 1990s-built win­ery is in the his­toric Bar­rio de la Estación or ‘Sta­tion District’ of Haro but built on top of a large cel­lar dat­ing from the 19th cen­tury. This mix of the old and new is typ­i­cal of Roda.

Roda only uses bush vines. This is the most tra­di­tional grow­ing method in the re­gion but they also be­lieve the qual­ity of juice is finer, that bush vines pro­tect grapes bet­ter in warm years and al­low for greater aer­a­tion. Most of the vines on their 120 hectares are a min­i­mum of 30 years old, with the ex­cep­tion of some used for the en­try level Sela brand. Grapes are cold-mac­er­ated for three days be­fore fer­men­ta­tion in old oak on indige­nous yeasts, and where new oak is used it is a spice rather than a flavour; bring­ing out the in­di­vid­u­al­ity of each vin­tage is a strong fo­cus. Roda 1 (€59 at re­tail) is made from older vines in spe­cific sites that pro­duce darker plum and liquorice flavoured Tem­pranillo and sure enough this had gobs of dense black fruits, plum and dam­son flavours, tex­tured (but yield­ing) tan­nins and lin­ger­ing black rasp­berry fruit on the fin­ish. Roda’s Cir­sion (€220) is their top wine pro­duced in tiny quan­ti­ties and made from spe­cific older vines (45+ years) cho­sen for their abil­ity to pro­duce Tem­pranillo with more depth and in­ten­sity. The 2015 that I tasted had amaz­ing pu­rity and el­e­gance de­spite its youth, dense fruits were bal­anced with acid­ity and fresh­ness and there was lovely ten­sion in the wine. Roda’s two more af­ford­able wines Sela and Roda are given full notes be­low.

If you are look­ing for bar­gains this week the re­main­ing rec­om­men­da­tions are new Span­ish wines from Dunnes Stores plus their ex­cel­lent Chi­anti. If you get to Dunnes watch for the Ra­paura Marl­bor­ough Sau­vi­gnon Blanc for just €11.50 and their soft fruity Tau­tavel Re­serve Langue­doc at €11.

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