BODEGAS PUELLES, Abalos, Rioja Alta

Jesús Puelles and his brother Félix organically farm this 20-hectare, family-owned estate that dates back to 1844.  The vineyards are at the highest elevation in Rioja Alta on clay-limestone soils. Located on the North bank of the Ebro River, in the town of Abalós, the vineyards share the moderating Atlantic influence with Rioja Alavesa.  The wines typically have a very high proportion of Tempranillo (about 95%) compared with other wines of the region.  The rest of the vineyards are planted to Mazuelo, Garnacha and Graciano, which are used in small quantities to round out the wines.

The Crianza is a bright, fresh and traditional style of wine that is ideal for aperitif or lighter dishes.  El Molino is the single-vineyard crianza, named after the 17th century water-powered mill that houses the winery.  Puelles Blanco is a perfumed, zesty white wine made from 100% Viura.  Zenus is the flagship wine, sourced from specific plots of 40-year-old vines.  Aged for 18 months in 80% French oak barrels, this wine is then aged for a minimum of 8 years in bottle before release — a remarkable wine!  

Only white grapes - Viura & Macabeo - are purchased, as well as some fruit for the entry-level ‘Joven’ red.  All of the other wines are entirely estate grown.  Planted in 1923, the oldest vineyards are head-pruned, while most of the newer plantings are cordon-trained.  ‘Traditional’ wines are matured in 50% French / 50% American oak, while the ‘modern’ style wines see a higher proportion of French. All of the wines display a freshness of fruit, precision and style.