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.