The Wines of Bodegas Manzanos

by artfuldiner on November 15, 2023

in Uncategorized

Manzanos Wines - EntranceBodegas Manzanos is a large Spanish wine producer, founded in 1890 by members of the Fernández de Manzanos family. The original production capacity of the small winery was 50,000 liters of wine. In the 1940s, a new facility was constructed, expanding the capacity to 350,000 liters.

Between the 1950s and 60s the estate was consolidated with the creation of the Viña Marichalar winery, the first attached to the Rioja Qualified Denomination of Origin, increasing the output to more than 1.5 million liters.

In the 1990s, after obtaining a Master’s Degree in Viticulture & Oenology from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Victor Fernández de Manzanos Pastor joined the family business. He then built the Marqués de Butrago winery and fulfilled his life-long ambition with the construction of Bodegas Manzanos.

In 2020, the reins of the winery were turned over to brothers Victor & David Fernández and Victor’s wife, Laura Mateo Manzanos Wines - 4th Generation(pictured). The young entrepreneurs, while still maintaining a deep respect for family tradition, have turned Bodegas Manzanos into a prosperous, modern facility equipped with the latest technologies. In 2020, when COVID was preventing industry professionals from visiting Spain. They took the bold step of establishing a U.S. office and tasting room in Miami, Florida.

I recently had opportunity to sample two red wines from Bodegas Manzanos, which are not only of excellent quality but also readily available and quite reasonably priced.

Manzanos 111 Red Blend 2021: Hailing from the estate’s winery in Navarra, this is an interesting red blend of 85% Manzanos Wines - 111 Red Blend 2021Grenache & 15% Cabernet Sauvignon… and it hits all the right notes. Mike DeSimone of Wine Enthusiast bestowed 93 points, noting its “vibrant acidity and plush tannins,” before launching into the usual ad infinitum, ad nauseum pontification of aromas & flavors.

Forget the usual palaver. Bottom line… this is a very likeable wine. It’s medium-bodied, offers a nice tinge of black fruit on the palate and is, above all, eminently quaffable. I happen to think it’s overrated (see more of that below)… but if you’re a red wine lover in search of that perfect everyday libation, trust me, you’ve just found it.

But there’s more. The price is quite likeable as well… a paltry $8.99 at your local State Store. And you can’t get much better than that. Well… actually you can. Please check out the wine below.

Manzanos 111 Reserva Red Rioja 2018: The red wines produced in Spain’s leading wine region, Rioja, are also blends. Tempranillo is the predominate grape, supplemented by smaller percentages of Garnacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano to add body and color.

The phylloxera blight (the invasion of an insect pest that attacks grapevines) in the 1870s brought an influx of Bordeaux winemakers to the Rioja region. Manzanos Wines - Reserva Rioja 2018These winemakers introduced many techniques from their own region, including the use of new oak barrels for long-term aging. Thus, the tempranillo-based red blends take on new complexities, depending upon their time in oak. Crianzas have the shortest aging requirement of two years (one of which must be in barrel); and Gran Reservas have the longest requirement of five years (two of which must be in barrel). Reservas, such as the 2018 Manzanos 111 Red Rioja, occupy the middle ground of aging: three years (one of which must be in the barrel), which means they are generally characterized by the subtle hints of baking spice, vanilla, and chocolate.

However, I tasted both Manzanos’ wines side-by-side; and what struck me was not only the difference in flavor – which was infinitely more subtle – but also the difference in texture. The Reserva was incredibly opulent, and as smooth as silk on the palate.

Interestingly enough, Mike DeSimone of Wine Enthusiast bestowed the exact same score – 93 points – on this wine as he did the wine noted above.  A ludicrous case of over/under rating, in my opinion. Especially since 2018 Manzanos 111 Reserva Red Rioja, which retails at $45.00, is currently on sale for $12.99 at your local State Store. While a tad higher in price than the 2021 111 Red Blend, it is definitely worth the few dollars more.

By the way, the Manzanos 111 Reserva would make an excellent complement to your Thanksgiving table.



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