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17 June, 2020

Bodegas LAN Culmen 2011 Reserva

Posted in : Red Wine, Tempranillo, Wine on by : becca

Bodegas LAN Culmen 2011 Reserva
La Rioja, Spain

Early on in quarantine, the Bodegas LAN winery hosted a tasting with a small group of wine writers of their Bodegas LAN Culmen 2011 Reserva.

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Obligatory disclaimer: That means this tasting was free to me, along with a bottle of the wine, which I promptly decanted in time for the virtual event.

I was introduced to Bodegas LAN last fall, at a tapas and wine lunch in San Francisco. We tried multiple wines from multiple Bodegas LAN lines then, including their newest one, the organic Xtrèmes. But one wine was missing – the Culmen, or “crown jewel” of the Bodegas LAN portfolio, as Stefanie Schwalb, of lifestyle PR firm Gregory + Vine, described it.Bodegas LAN Culmen 2011 Reserva, bodegas lan, culmen, tasting notes, wine review, wine, tempranillo

Bodegas LAN’s Export Director Trinidad Villegas led us through the tasting online. The Bodegas LAN Culmen 2011 Reserva comes from 40- to 60-year-old vines in the El Rincón parcel of the Viña Lanciano estate. It’s a blend of 88% Tempranillo and 12% Graciano. Aromas of raisin and eucalyptus come up right away from the glass, exposing how dense this wine is in terms of presence. It’ll take a seat at the table and fill the room, much as a much-loved head of the family.

The color is burgundy ink. I decanted it for about half an hour, and it could have used more time to fully develop. Floral elements whispered promises. Each sip dove deeper into its layers: at first, I tasted rose, but that blossomed into honeysuckle and violet. Vanilla washed over the floral notes with time then gave way to berry—bright and ripe red cherries. Think Royal Ann’s rather than Rainier. The finish lasts and has weight, but not in a draining way. Tannin sneaks in—you’ll wonder how your mouth went dry.

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The Bodegas LAN Culmen 2011 Reserva is a walk down the aisle that leaves its guests with a lingering impression of love. Yes, that’s sappy. Can’t we all use a little of that right now? For pairings, another blogger suggested a cheeseburger with bacon-jam, which I can certainly go for, especially if that bacon-jam includes reduced, caramelized onions. I think it’d go great with a Bolognese sauce, and I enjoyed it with a mild blue cheese that evening, which highlighted smoky elements I’d missed before.

The Culmen is not made every year, and the 2011 vintage is currently selling for about $60 per bottle. The 2015 should also soon be available in the USA, if it’s not already. If you have the cash, this one’s worth the buy.

Tasted 31 March 2020.

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