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April 28, 2020

Really Rioja

Today we virtually travel to the la Rioja wine region of Spain. Although I have never been there, I’d love to visit. Last fall I participated in a month of Wine Studio Twitter chats featuring the wines of Bodegas LAN in Rioja. While we can’t engage in wine country travel at the moment….alas we can dream through the glass.

What is Wine Studio?

#WineStudio is an online, Twitter-based educational program produced by Tina Morey, Certified Sommelier who’s been in the food and wine industry for over twenty years. Each month a different producer is selected, as well as a lineup of wines from their portfolio. Anyone can participate in the weekly Twitter chats, but only a select few are chosen to receive samples to accompany the conversation.

Every Tuesday at 6pm (Pacific time), Tina hosts the group on Twitter at the WineStudio hashtag as the group does the wine tasting together. Usually accompanying her is someone affiliated with the producer, such as the winemaker, owner, salesperson, etc. Above all, Tina describes it as part instruction and part wine tasting. Discussion topics include: the producer history, the grapes, tourism, terroir, regional culture, food, etc. For each new topic Tina has consequently seen dozens of original content pieces created, thousands of interactions via social media and millions of impressions created on our specific topic.

Meanwhile, for the Bodegas LAN edition of #WineStudio we were joined by Lyn Farmer. Lyn is a James Beard Award-winning wine and food writer and WSET Certified Educator.  He was the perfect fit to guide us through these wines!

Rioja Wine Region: Bodegas LAN

Bodegas LAN was “born” in 1972 and is named after the initials of the three political provinces in the DOCa Rioja wine region: Logroño (now La Rioja), Álava, and Navarra. LAN blends the best of Rioja tradition with modern winemaking and an innovative approach to oak use. They own 20,000 barrels, so there are a lot of oak options. Signature handling of oak includes the use of Russian oak, hybrid oak barrels with American staves, and French oak tops and bottoms.  Yes, they use Russian barrels, and they admit it! Overall LAN has evolved into a more modern winery versus a traditionalist. They make wines of a more international style, which helps the international market understand what you do.  This helps move bottles……which is the ultimate goal!! Check out my previous post about Bodegas LAN HERE.

Enjoy tasting notes from the wines we savored throughout the month of November.

LAN Crianza 2016 ($14 retail)

95% Tempranillo and 5% Mazuelo. Aged for 14 months in combined American and French oak barrels followed by 9 months in bottle before release. RED RED RED fruit notes + sweet spice + vanilla. A classic Rioja nose. This wine stands alone, in my opinion; no food necessary.

LAN Reserva 2012 ($20 retail)

92% Tempranillo and 8% Mazuelo. 18 months in hybrid American/French barrels followed by 20 months in bottle prior to release. Very deep red fruit plus blue fruit. I also get notes of red hots….yup I said red hots….spicy cinnamon notes. This red is perfect for a Fall evening. Not quite a warming winter red…..enjoying a glass of this in the Fall would be exquisite.

LAN Gran Reserva 2011 ($25 retail)

96% Tempranillo plus 4% Mazuelo and Graciano. 26 months in hybrid American/French barrels followed by 36 months in bottle prior to release. A full-bodied and dark red, as you’d expect from a Gran Reserva. Notes of dark red and black fruit, including cherries and blackberries. Plus a warm baking spices from the oak treatment.

Rioja wine Region LAN Gran Reserva 2011

LAN D-12 2016 ($20 retail)

Vat number 12 used to the reserved for wines that stood out after fermentation for their great aromatic intensity. D-12 is a homage to this vat.  This is the 10th edition of this release. 100% Tempranillo. Aged 12 months in hybrid American/French barrels. Deep garnet color plus red fruit aromas of cranberries plus prunes. Vanilla plus cinnamon notes.

Viña Lanciano Reserva 2012 ($30 retail)

90% Tempranillo, 8% Granciano, and 2% Mazuelo. From a selection of 30-year-old vines located in LAN’s Viña Lanciano estate. Aging in French and Russian oak plus 20 months in bottle. Winery notes: Elegant aromas of red fruits in liqueur and black fruits (blackberry/blackcurrant) plus spiced notes of clove, cinnamon, and vanilla. Perfumed hints of violets.

LAN a Mano 2016 ($50 retail)

85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo. Aged in French plus Caucasian oak barrels.  This is my favorite of the bunch. Complex and layered…just how I like my reds. Bright red fruit (cherries and plums) quickly moving into dark, ripe, black fruit, including blackberry and black currant). Tertiary notes of chocolate and coffee, plus tobacco. All the structural elements strike a stunning balance.

LAN Xtrème Ecológico Crianza 2015 ($20 retail)

100% organic Tempranillo grapes. Aged 14 months in new French oak. From the tech sheet: LAN Xtrème is the extreme manifestation of the LAN philosophy in terms of respect for the raw materials. Minimal intervention from the start to preserve the essence of the terroir. No additives to the must or the wine, except for a small quantity of Sulphur to avoid oxidation and the development of undesirable microorganisms.

To sum up, we are all home and we are all getting a bit stir crazy. But we can still drink wine, connect with people virtually, and dream of wine country travel in our future.

Learn About Virtual Wine Tasting →

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’re looking to Up Your Wine Game and Drink Better, consider booking a private in-person or virtual wine tasting experience.
Brianne Cohen Wine Educator
Brianne Cohen is a Los Angeles-based certified sommelier, wine educator, consultant, and writer.

Brianne has educated and entertained over 10,000 people through her in-person and virtual wine tasting experiences.

Brianne holds the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Diploma certificate, one of the most coveted wine certifications in the world. When she’s not helping people Up Their Wine Game, she can be found judging at international wine competitions

Brianne aims to make wine approachable and conversational, to surprise and delight with unexpected wine finds, and to give people knowledge (and confidence) about wine in their everyday lives.

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Sample Policy

As a wine writer, I frequently accept samples for review on my  website and on my social media channels. Please contact me at to discuss sending samples for review. I promise to always be honorable with the samples. I will evaluate all wines in good tasting settings and with no distractions.

All reviews are my opinions, and mine only. Because of the volume of samples I receive, I cannot promise that all samples received will be reviewed, but I will do my best.

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