Though a relative newcomer to Spain's famed Rioja district, having been founded in 1986, Allende is no less now one of its leading producers. Miguel Angel de Gregorio started his winery in the hills of the Rioja Alta, the highest point in the appellation, on a 17th Century manor. He built his organic vineyard literally from the ground up.
The temperature here is cooler, the air cleaner and the sun brighter, all circumstances that are paramount in making great wine, but that's not enough. Once the grapes are picked, they go through an extensive hand sorting where they discarded bruised, under-ripe and shriveled grape.
The grapes are fermented at 41? for six days, which slows the fermentation so that more color can be extracted from the skins. Afterward, another two weeks of fermentation using native yeasts complete the process. The wine is then aged exclusively in French oak barrels for two to three years before being bottled and aged another year.
This lengthy process is mandatory if only the finest expression of the Tempranillo grape is your goal. And that is what is achieved here. Tempranillo is the national grape of Spain, and unquestionably it's finest. It also has the ability to age better than most, especially considering its delicate nature. Wines that age well are generally tannic in their youth. Tempranillo is not and can stay drinkable throughout its life.
The soft fruit, spice, toffee, and cocoa notes are perfect for matching with grilled lamb with pesto or tornados of beef with wild mushrooms.