I was privileged to attend the ‘First Ever Global Release’ of the super rare and stunning 2010 Cirsion.
Bodega Roda, which produces Cirsion, has never sold it En Primeur, preferring to run a rolling release programme when the wines are ‘ready’, alongside the rest of their range. Although the Bodega has only been around for a very short time (since 1987), the wines traditionally sell very well in Spain and in emerging markets (Brazil, Latin America, even Russia) where the habit of buying futures is not so well established.
Agustín Santolaya, the director of Bodega Roda, made the trip over to London and with his boundless enthusiasm and energy took us through a vertical tasting of 7 vintages of Cirsion, and 4 vintages of Roda 1.
Roda and Roda 1 are very well known amongst the ever-increasing band of Spanish aficionados but perhaps for others a little explanation is needed. The grapes are hand picked from old vines and only post-fermentation, in barrel is the selection made between Roda and Roda 1. Barrels showing darker fruits are set aside for Roda 1, and those barrels showing red fruit go into Roda. (They even colour code the capsules on the bottle to differentiate).
The idea behind the tasting was to show how well both the wines can age, so we tried the 1994, 1995, 2004 and 2005 . These are superb examples of what can be produced from Tempranillo. What stands out though in both the Roda bottlings and Cirsion is that the balance makes them hugely seductive, even in youth.
Cirsion shows greater depth and complexity, and is based on old vines. Agustín described selecting grapes for it ‘like picking mushrooms in the woods’ - i.e. with great care, attention and the utmost respect. The making of the wine itself howerver, takes very much a hands off approach. Malo-fermentation is allowed to happen naturally, yeasts already existing on the grape skins are utilised, and only vines that have bunches where the tannins have polymerised are used. After 25 years of experience, the bodega’s team knows the best grapes are most likely to come from older vines on 4 main vineyard sites, but interestingly they do not appear on the same vines every year. Rather than lab testing, Agustín explained that mainly visual signs (the old ways!) are used to make the selection and most importantly, taste is key. “What is weird about these grapes is that they already taste like wine when you eat them fully ripe”; it’s like the process of turning into wine has already begun within the grape – this is the really unique point about these wines and also explains the tiny production.
So what did I learn? Boedga Roda is one HOT property YOU NEED to keep tabs on and, due to their miniscule production, grab at every opportunity. Both the Roda and Cirsion in youth are ridiculously ripe and for those with patience, extra ageing gives these wines (Cirsion in particular) added complexity and silky tannins. Vintage-depending, there are certainly comparisons with both Burgundy and Bordeaux.
2010 Cirsion - 100% Tempranillo, hand selected from different parcels of old vines (45 years old)
Pronounced, youthful, ripe and primary fruits show a real intensity and elegance combined with spice box integrated oak. The Tempranillo fruit shows a real purity and the balance is instantly appealing. The tannins are beautifully ripe, sweet and combined with the lovely fresh acidity, this has all the foundations for a great life ahead. You’d be forgiven for thinking that you can approach this now, however I urge you to hang on to what you can. Balance, freshness, charm and elegance are the hall marks here. This has a beautiful finish with great persistence. 96 Pts BI
Production for Cirsion 2010 is only 7,000 bottles and on the back of this week's tasting we expect HUGE demand. We are awaiting our allocation (which hopefully includes a few large formats) and will duly let you know when ready to offer.
Congratulations on a job well done to the team. Muchisimas gracias a todos.