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The worst-kept secret in European wine circles for the last 2 years has been Vega Sicilia’s expansion into Rioja. Vega Sicilia and Benjamin de Rothschild began the project 10 years ago, with the discreet but steady acquisition of multiple vineyard plots from smallholder farmers. The style of the wines is certainly not ‘traditional’ Rioja – after trials, they decided against American oak – but the style is not modern “alto espreccion” either. Perhaps the term Neo-Classical is most apt, with complex mineral-infused fruit and discreet oak influences, underpinned by a fine but firm structure. These are definitely “fine wines” in the grand European tradition, and sure to generate serious media, trade and consumer interest.
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