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Luis Gutiérrez - from The Wine Advocate - includes Gómez Cruzado among Rioja’s top vignerons

The Spanish wine critic for Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, in his report on Rioja, praises "the remarkable efforts of David González and Juan Antonio Leza to resurrect Gómez Cruzado, one of the historic names in the Barrio de la Estación in Haro"

03 of July of 2019

In his recently report on Rioja, Luis Gutiérrez, the Spanish wine critic for Robert Parker’s publication The Wine Advocate, praises "the remarkable efforts of David González and Juan Antonio Leza to resurrect a winery like Gómez Cruzado, one of the historic names in the Barrio de la Estación in Haro". In March of 2019, to prepare his report, Luis Gutiérrez visited the Gómez Cruzado winery and the various vineyards that comprise and capture its diverse range of 'Riojas'. The report names David González and Juan Antonio Leza among the “bunch of passionate people working old vineyards and planting new ones for the future, trying to resume that incipient wine culture and tradition in Rioja from before industrialization and all the ups and downs, the era of excess and follow-the-fashion period that Rioja suffered, like many other regions, not only in Spain but in many other countries as well”.

Luis Gutiérrez explains: “These viñadores (the Spanish word for vignerons) come from very different backgrounds and styles, but they seem to share a common passion for their vineyards, their villages and Rioja only to be discouraged by rules and regulations that often feel arbitrary and sometimes plain useless”. In his report Gutierrez also points out that in Rioja "the gap between small artisanal producers and large wineries seems to be getting even bigger".

Gómez Cruzado wines according to Luis Gutiérrez

Luis Gutiérrez tasted several Gómez Cruzado wines and awarded all of them over 90 points. In particular, he described Pancrudo as "quite original and different within the wines from Rioja, from a zone that had been forgotten - the valley of Alto Najerilla - where the traditional wine was a clarete”. Notably, David González and Juan Antonio Leza are among those winemakers leading the revitalization of this area which has a long-standing winemaking tradition. These vintners are putting this sub-region back on the map by exploiting the potential found in its old vineyards, soil and climate conditions. Gutiérrez gave Pancrudo 2016 95 points and Pancrudo 2017 94 points. The critic applauded Pancrudo, describing it as “elegant, floral, Burgundian, with great freshness and balance and very fine tannins”.

Montes Obarenes 2015 is among the highest-scoring wines in the region, receiving 94 points. Gutierrez calls it "one of the best modern whites from Rioja, a wine that has been a revelation since the initial 2013 vintage". He also recommends that it be allowed to further develop in the bottle as this wine is designed for excellent ageing capacity. Regarding Gómez Cruzado Blanco 2nd Year 2017, Luis Gutiérrez also predicts that "this should develop nicely in bottle", and awards it 91 points.

The Wine Advocate critic also celebrates the 2017 vintage of Cerro Las Cuevas (93 points), which is born in the Gómez Cruzado vineyards known as “Las Laderas" and “Calitrancos”, located near the town of Ollauri (Rioja Alta), and which matures solely in a 3,800 liter French oak foudre. Gutiérrez describes this wine as “a lot more expressive and lively, with vibrant fruit, floral and perfumed with a lot less oak influence than in previous vintages”. He expounds, adding that this red wine has “more personality, elegance and freshness. It also has a different texture and quality of tannins”.

The most historical wine at Gómez Cruzado, Honorable, received 92 points for its 2014 vintage, which according to Luis Gutiérrez was "a challenging year with good freshness and less homogeneous wines than 2015". The 2015 vintage was granted 90-91 points. The critic characterizes Gómez Cruzado Vendimia Seleccionada 2017 (91 points) as a "more modern version of a Rioja", and as "delicious, very easy to drink, clean and pleasant”. Regarding Gómez Cruzado Reserva 2012 (90 points), Gutiérrez underscores the winemakers’ evident dedication to elegance, "in a low-yielding year with good ripeness, pretty apt for Reserva-style wines". About Gómez Cruzado Crianza 2015, the critic points out that its profile “mixes modern and more traditional characteristics" while also lauding its "good freshness, mixing power, ripeness and concentration with elegance and balance”.

While the wine market and consumers await wines from single vineyards and village wines, Luis Gutiérrez argues that "Rioja is a very large denomination and it needs to be broken down into smaller pieces, as there is a need for a quality hierarchy of its vineyards." He insists that "while there are a lot of poor places destined to high yields and low prices, such a vast extension of land under vine means a good amount of quality vineyards. I have literally hundreds of photos of amazing places from just a few days traveling the countryside, and potential remains extremely high. After all, Rioja and Jerez are the traditional quality wine regions of Spain for a reason", the critic concludes.

 

 

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