Baron d’Anglade – a glimpse at Rioja’s past

Sunday is the most relaxing day of the week at our house:  sleeping in, cooking breakfast instead of coffee and juice on the run, enjoying a couple of glasses of wine at the conveniently located bar next door, a late lunch, reading the papers and then the tube or a book.

I don’t know if the same thing happens to you, but once in a while instead of trying to find a bottle to go with lunch or making lunch to go with a nearby bottle, I just grab one from the cellar – the first one that I see.  Yesterday was one of those days.

It turned out to be Barón d’Anglade reserva 2001 from Bodegas Franco-Españolas, one of Rioja’s century-old wineries and in this case, the label has an interesting story to tell.

Franco-Españolas was founded in 1890 by a Bordeaux businessman, Frédéric Anglade, at the peak of Rioja’s booming export trade with France after phylloxera attacked French vineyards in 1867, prompting French wineries and brokers to buy wine in Rioja, helped by a reduction in import duties levied on Spanish wine by France in 1882. The name of the winery is a reminder of this important relationship, which encouraged the use of small oak casks for aging here.

Several Rioja wineries in existence today were founded during this boom with the help of the French:  among them were López de Heredia, whose founder’s first business partner was one Armand Heff,  Bodegas Bilbaínas, originally named Sauvignon Frères, and Bodegas Carlos Serres, founded by Alphonse Vigier and Charles Serres, whose son ‘hispanicized’ his name to Carlos.

If you look carefully at the crest on the label of some of Franco-Españolas’ wines, you can see that is is divided in half, with ‘Bordeaux’ on the left and ‘Logroño’ on the right.  You can see this in the image on the left.FrancoEspanolas escudo

The winery calls Barón d’Anglade its modern wine, but I found it to be more classic, in spite of its alcoholic content (13,5%).

My tasting notes:

Barón d’Anglade reserva 2001.  13,5% alcohol.  Made with tempranillo, mazuelo and graciano.  Aged in allier oak casks.  Bottle 13.513 of a limited edition of 14.000 bottles.

Medium garnet.  Raspberries and smoke on the nose, elegant.  Good acidity, smooth, mature tannins and a medium mouthfeel.

We enjoyed half the bottle with a lunch of roast chicken, vegetarian pasta, and a salad and finished it two hours later while watching a bullfight on TV.  After being open for three hours, smoke and leather notes prevailed, proving that an eight year-old wine will benefit from decanting, not necessarily to remove the dregs at the bottom of the bottle, but to allow it to breathe.

Bodegas Franco-Españolas, Cabo Noval 2, 26006 Logroño La Rioja



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