B-21 Top Recommendation
The Palacios family has been leading a renaissance in the Rioja Baja for years. In a sub-zone where the majority of wines are released by the co-op, the Palacios family – one of the most important in Spain – is returning to their roots, focusing more on old-vine Garnacha. Having fallen out of vogue in the '80s, Garnacha was actually the once-preferred grape in the Baja. Being more Mediterranean in climate, Rioja Baja comes complete with those famous rolled stones you'll find in the southern Rhone, deposited in this region centuries ago as rivers flooded the area – and Garnacha flourishes here. Using 75% of this variety in their la Montesa returns wines which mimic single vineyard Chateauneufs: wild flowers, herbs, wild spices, buckets of blue and black fruits. Think single-vineyard CDP for 1/4 the price. The 2016 is the finest La Montesa yet wine yet fortesa at a very unrefined price, a Rioja steal.