A delightful rosé blended from Rioja’s favourite grapes
- Producer: Casa La Rad
- Region: DOCa Rioja
- Vintage: 2020
- ABV: 14%
- Grape: Mazuelo | Garnacha | Graciano | Tempranillo
Somewhere between pale strawberry and salmon-pink in colour, this is a wine with strong aromas from the four different grape varieties. Notes of strawberry and raspberry are prominent, evolving over time into white blossom and stone fruit. Long and persistent on the palate, with a delicate acidity that makes it a delightfully fresh wine.
On its own, White Fish, Shellfish, Rice Dishes
More about Solarce Rosado
Who makes it
The Casa la Rad vineyard and winery sits just south-east of the city of Logroño in the middle of the Rioja region. The 100 or so hectares are a mixture of free-standing bush and trellised vines, planted across a variety of plots with different soil types, orientations and altitudes.
The estate is part of the Ocón valley which joins the Sierra de Hez mountains – part of the central Iberian range - to the south and the Ebro river to the north, which means the vines are planted at between 600 and 750 metres above sea level making for cooler temperatures and fresher growing conditions.
The vineyard is relatively new and only released its first wines onto the market in 2017. Under the watchful eye of winemaker Marta Gallego, who has worked at various well-known bodegas including the famous Muga, the winery is taking a research-driven approach to their winemaking, experimenting with different soils, altitudes and blends to extract the maximum expression of fruit and terroir from traditional Riojan varieties like Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano or Viura.
About the grapes
Solarce Rosado is made from a blend of estate-grown Mazuelo, Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Graciano grapes harvested from the 100 hectares of vineyard in the village of Ausejo in DOCa Rioja. This is the same blend that is used in the Solarce Tinto, but here all the grapes are in equal proportion.
Tempranillo is Spain’s most common wine grape and is a very adaptable variety for winemakers to work with. It doesn’t have a particularly dominant flavour profile, but it offers lovely flavours of strawberry and other red fruits.
Garnacha is low in tannins and high in alcohol. So it helps to bring body to this wine without overpowering the palate with tannins. It also gives red fruit flavours like strawberry and raspberry.
Mazuelo (aka Cariñena and Samsó) produces wines with fine tannins and good acidity and plenty of fruit. And Graciano is often described as a perfumed variety, with an aromatic nose of spice and menthol notes, lending a touch of freshness and elegance to a blend.
Both Mazuelo and Graciano are dark-skinned grapes, often used to add colour to red wines. So here maceration is carefully controlled to ensure this rosé wine maintains a lovely light pink colour.
Where it's made
Rioja is one of Spain’s best known and best-loved wine regions and is on a par with renowned wine-producing regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy in France, or Barolo in northern Italy.
Sitting in the north of Spain, Rioja runs about 100 km from West to East and 40 km North to South, centred around the city of Logroño. The Ebro river runs through it from West to East. Rioja has just over 66,000 hectares of vineyards, which is about 7% of the Spanish total. In that area you'll find about 14,800 farmers who grow grapes which they then sell on to about 574 actual wine producers.
Traditionally, winemaking in Rioja has put a big focus on blending – mixing together grapes grown in different zones of the region to achieve balanced wines. But in recent years, Riojan producers are lobbying for changes to the rules to allow wine labels to include more specific references to where within Rioja the wines actually come from. It’s a move towards the more terroir-focused approach, used in lots of the other great wine regions of the world.
How it's made
Solarce Rosé is made using the traditional sangrado method. The red grapes are brought into the winery and the free-run (i.e.unpressed) juice remains in contact with the grape skins for between 6 to 12 hours at a controlled temperature of 10°C. After this light maceration, the free-run juice is placed in a different tank where it ferments at a controlled temperature of 14 - 16°C to preserve the aromatic complexity of the four different grape varieties.