5 de mayo de 2013

Rioja's Historic Wineries - Bodegas Franco-Españolas

As the name implies, the company was a French origin. In 1890, Féderique Anglade of the Maison Anglade in Bordeaux, who was shipping large amounts of Rioja to France for blending, began maturing small amounts of wine for direct sale. In this he was helped by a gifted vigneron from Bordeaux, Alexandre Lepine. The experiments propered; and in 1901, Bodegas Franco-Españolas was formed as a public company with finance both from France and Spain, and set about the construction of the present large premises just over the bridge across the Ebro in Logroño. The firm was acquired by RUMASA in 1973, and since its dissolution has been managed on behalf of the Spanish government.

It owns no vineyard of its own and buys-in grapes from the Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja and also ready-made wine. It has long been noted for light, claret-like red wines, such as the inexpensive "Diamante", and also for the fuller-bodied "Rioja Bordón", but the best of its wine are the "Royal" reservas and gran reservas of which examples were the 1968 "Tête de Cuvée" and the 1970. Quality was not, however, always maintained during the RUMASA period, perhaps because of a desire to boost production and sales.

Franco-Españolas also made a dry and oaky traditional white "Viña Sole"; a fresch, cold fermented new-style "Viña Soledad", unaged in cask; and a good semi-sweet "Diamante" with a dryish finish, which goes well with desserts.

Its pleasant rosés were the inexpensive "Sin Rival 2º año", the dry "Royal" and "Rosado de Lujo", and the semi-sweet "Diamante".

Wines tasted:
Excelso 1964 Gran Reserva - 95/100 p. April 2013.
Excelso 1962 Gran Reserva - 94/100 p. April 2013.

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