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Alberto Orte is a winemaker and history lover who finds inspiration in expressions of time and place. When he makes a wine, very often it is rooted in a time gone by or lost technique. The other main sources of inspiration for Alberto are specific places that are compelling by virtue of the qualities they intrinsically lend to wines that are grown there. In the case of Calma, he examines the latter – a special site in Rioja Alta called Viña Badrinal, in the village of Hormilla near the Sierra de la Demanda mountain chain. Planted to sandy limestone and clay soils at almost 2000 ft elevation, the bright acidity and depth of the fruit from this parcel provide Alberto with beautiful, site-specific raw material to make an age-worthy wine of remarkable depth and elegance. 100% Tempranillo, organically farmed and hand-harvested, Calma is a close examination of this special place and is unmistakably Riojana.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
Calma is a single vineyard, small production Rioja from a high-altitude, limestone parcel planted to 100% Tempranillo. The wine shows extraordinary depth, beautiful integration of tannins and balancing acidity in the raw materials give this wine excellent potential for aging.
2014 91VM; 2013 91VM; 2012 90VM; 2010 91IWR
100% Tempranillo. Vines planted from 1984-2002. Tended in red thin clay and sandy limestone soil at 568 m (1,865 ft) elevation
With its spicy, peppery red fruit, Calma is a wine that begs for robust flavors like olives and charcuterie (particularly jamon iberico). Aged sharper cheeses like manchego and mahon are also natural pairings.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING:
The wine is made using 15% whole cluster maceration. 85% of the bunches are de-stemmed and crushed. The must is macerated for 7 days at cool temperatures. It is then fermented in open-top stainless steel tanks for 15 days at 84F to extract more flavor and tannin, followed by a post-fermentation and extended maceration for 7 days. The goal with these vinification methods is to make a wine of longevity. The wine is aged for 16 months in oak barrels, 90% French and 10% American.
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE:
The vineyards are located in the town of Hormilla, Rioja Alta at 568 meters (1,865 ft.) Hormilla has soils composed of thin red clay and sandy limestone, with small particles of thin clay. These soils find expression in the wine as ripe, structured, yet silky tannins. For climate, the average temperature from April-October is 61.5F with 18.3 inches of yearly rainfall. The moderately warm days and cool nights of this Continental Atlantic climate forces the grapes to ripen slowly, creating optimal conditions to produce wines that show brighter, more expressive aromas and more profound, complex fruit flavors.
Deep red. Aromas of dried red berries, cherry pit, pipe tobacco and vanilla; a hint of white pepper adds vivacity. Coats the palate with smoke-accented cherry-vanilla and cassis flavors and shows very good energy and a seamless texture. The smoke and cassis notes carry through a sweet, subtly tannic finish that echoes the tobacco note. -- Josh Raynolds