Introducing this new ANZA Rioja discovery from Diego Magaña who is already one of the hottest names in a upcoming generation of young Spanish winemakers. Diego’s father Juan is legendary for his Navarra wines to the north of Rioja. So it was only natural for Diego, after working with his father for over ten years, to strike out on his own. First Diego was mentored by the legendary Raul Perez of Bierzo (Galicia) and Mencia fame. But Diego had always dreamed of a Rioja project in the high elevations of Alavesa district. Finally in 2016 Diego was able to acquire 2.5 hectares of beautiful old vines in pure white limestone of in the heart of Alavesa. He named his project Anza as a tribute to his mother Esperanza (“Hope”) Tejero. Since then, Diego has expanded his “vast” holdings of small, old bushvine (30-90 years) parcels to 4.5 hectares spread among the villages of Kripan, Elvillar, and the highly coveted Laguardia. The majority of the vines are of course Tempranillo, but these are mingled with Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo, Viura and Malvasia Riojana. Viticulture is dry farmed and organic, even plowed by horse. Fruit is vinified “garden-by-garden” with indigenous yeast in old open top vats. Macerations take about 3 weeks. Whole clusters are used depending upon the parcel (50-100% in 2018). The fermented juice is aged in used wooden vessels of 225 to 500L, and one single 4,000L for about one year.
So the ’18 Anza arrived on Friday, and we immediately opened a bottle for dinner. The wine drinks gorgeously now with compelling spicy, floral aromatics. The palate displays a mix of ripe, juicy red and black berries and plums. The structure is medium-bodied, with fresh acidity and a well knit, integrated tannin. Very refined, elegant and transparent with harmonious balance. Should continue to drink and age well for at least 10 years.
“The 2018 Anza wants to be a direct and pure red from Rioja Alavesa. It’s from vineyards close to the Sierra Cantabria, with grapes from old vines on white soils, rich in limestone, sand and silt; there’s a field blend with a base of Tempranillo but also other varieties like Graciano, Garnacha, Viura, Tinta Velasco… It fermented with indigenous yeasts in a combination of oak vats, open-top barrels and stainless steel and matured in a 4,000-liter oak foudre and some 500-liter barrels. It’s only 13% alcohol and has a low pH (3.4), which indicates good freshness (the pH could be like an indicator of the quality of the acidity). There is a purity and transparency that I love, and the aromas are clean and precise, floral and delicate. The palate is juicy and graceful, like a ballerina moving slowly, with very fine tannins and that chalky sensation I associate with limestone soils. It feels easy to drink but it has complexity and is focused, and it finishes long and dry. It’s truly delicious, a Rioja about finesse and with less concentration, hoping that it will age in the style of the classical wines from 60 or 70 years ago. 8,127 bottles produced. It was bottled in October 2019. – 94 points, Wine Advocate (Luis Gutierrez – October 30, 2020)
The Anza wines have great packaging – Burgundy bottles with red wax on top.