martes, 4 de noviembre de 2014

Urbina Rioja Tasting at the Coutts Wine Society in London


When people think of Spanish red wine, they automatically think of Rioja. It is a name known throughout the world. That name actually comes from the Rio Oja, a little stream that flows into the larger River Ebro, which itself cuts through most of northeastern Spain. The wines of Rioja are made mainly from the Tempranillo grape, which is native to Spain. It produces deep colours and rich flavours, and has great potential for ageing. These wines have amazingly complex aromas, and over time they develop leathery spicy characters.

Generally speaking, Spanish wine is defined by age, so the main labels terms crionza, reserva, and gran reserva refer to the amount of time that the wines have been matured in oak barrel and then in bottles, before being sold.

At one end of the quality scale are wines labelled joven (meaning young), which have little or no oak-ageing. Jovenes are all about vibrant fruit. The crionzas, which have spent a year in the barrel and another in the bottle, offer great complexity but are still dominate by fruit characters. The reservas offer more vanilla, spice, and leathery notes due to an extra year in oak. Finally, the gran reservas are the finest and greatest wines. These are produced only in the best years and spend at least two years in the barrel and three more in the bottle before sale. As a result they have an intense bouquet. Of course, their character is completely Spanish, but their complexity can remind of a good red Burgundy from France, and their depth brings to mind the great wines-of Piedmont Italy.

You might also see one of the different districts of Rioja on the label. There are three, and each has a slightly different terrain and climate: Rioja Alta. Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja.

- Rioja Alta in the northwest makes big, assertive wines that need time to soften. When mature, they are the finest and most delicate wines in the region.
- Rioja Alavesa, also in the northwest accounts for a small part of the total Rioja vineyard area, and makes soft, rich, fruity wines.
- The Rioja Baja district is in the southeast and the flat valley floor here is some times too fertile for good quality grapes, also climate becomes gradually warmer with rainfall decreasing, the climate is more mediterranean.

With all that said, the estates of Rioja are free to buy and blend fruit all three regions, so the name of the producer most defines what you are getting in the bottle.

Rioja is available in such a variety of styles that there is one to suit any palate. This famous and hugely popular red wine is truly world class.


Urbina White 2012 - £9.07
Urbina Garnacha 2013 - £9.07
Urbina Crianza 2008 - £12.11
Urbina Seleccion 1999 - £15.19
Urbina Reserva Especial 1998 - £18.17
Urbina Reserva Especial 2001 - £18.17
Urbina Gran Reserva Especial 1991 - £25.18
Urbina Gran Reserva Especial 1994 - £25.18
Urbina Gran Reserva 1996 - £20.18

- Please contact for further details: Wineservice Ltd
- Adress: Wiremill Lane, Lingfield, Surrey, RH7 6HJ
- Telephone: 01342 837333
- Fax: 01342 837444
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Bodegas Urbina is located in Cuzcurrita de Rio Tiron, an area of Rioja Alta known for its long lived wines. Is a small family owned estate consisting of some 75ha of vineyards. Four generations of the family have dedicated themselves to the cultivation of their vineyards and production of wine.

In 1975 Urbina began to age and bottle their own wine in order to retain the special characteristics of a small single estate. Their sole objective, the production of quality wines, has been achieved as the result of careful viticulture using traditional techniques, harvesting by hand and avoiding the use of weed killers and pesticides.

- White Urbina 2012: The 2008 White Viura is 100% fermented and aged in stainless steel. Medium straw-colored, it Offers up a nose of melon, apple, and pear. On the palate it is smooth-textured, flavorful, and lively. This nicely balanced Offering Should drink well for Another 3 years.

- Urbina Garnacha 2013: 100% Garnacha made by carbonic maceration at 20 º C for 10 days. Cherry red with ruby-red reflections. Intense primary aromas with hints of red fruit, elegant, fruity aromas and complex very nice. Fresh on the palate with good body, strong sense of fresh fruit balanced.

- Urbina Crianza 2008: 95% and 5% Tempranillo and Graciano Mazuelo. Fermentation at 28 º C and macerated for 28 days in stainless steel tanks, the wine spends in oak barrels for 12 months after it is bottled and a minimum of 6 months in bottle before release. Cherry-ruby color, balanced, nuanced black currant on the palate, good structure and persistence. This wine comes from vines that reach 20 years of age, but all coming from our high quality vineyards.

- Urbina Tinto Seleccion 1999: 95% and 5% Tempranillo and Graciano Mazuelo. This wine comes from the best grapes from the winery, all from vineyards over 20 years. These are wines that reach the winery Gran Reserva quality. Fermentation at 28 º C and macerated for 28 days. Stay 16 months in oak barrels. Color ruby red with purple tones. Intense aroma of fruit. Pleasant complex flavors and intense aftertaste. Well conserved at temperatures between 15 º and 18 º develop its great qualities and will become a type Gran Reserva, after 3 or 4 years.

- Urbina Reserva Especial 1998: 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano and Mazuelo. This wine comes from the best grapes from the winery, all from vineyards over 20 years. It has been 12 months in new oak and 12 months in 7 years oak. And in bottle has been 12 months before commercialization. Dark ruby color with amber tones, rich bouquet of vanilla oak, elegant, attractive sweet mid palate with good concentrated ripe fruit, excellent length, classic and complex.

- Urbina Reserva Especial 2001: 100% Tempranillo. This wine comes from the best grapes from vines over 20 years old. Aged two years in French oak and American and approximately two years in the bottle. Dark colored. Nose of medium intensity, which appears very fine black fruit assembled perfectly with the oak. Very round without any edge, the epitome of harmony and balance. This wine also combines very well with all meals and times of day. The prescriber and most famous world's wine guru Robert Parker gave it 90 points.

The 2001 Seleccion Especial was produced from organically grown fruit from 50+-year-old vines. It was aged for 24 months in French and American oak. It is dark ruby-colored with a funky/earthy nose that also reveals crushed rock, spice box, and black cherry. Made in a traditional style, it is graceful on the palate with silky red fruits, lively acidity, excellent balance, and a pure finish. It can be enjoyed now and over the next 6-8 years.

- Urbina Gran Reserva Especial 91/94/96:  90% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo. This wine comes from the best grapes from the Estate, all from vines over 20 years. Fermentation at 28 º C and macerated the last 28 days, followed by 24 months in oak and 48 months in bottle. Garnet-red color, splendid maturity, complexity on the nose, the palate is seen in the harmonious and balanced oak and fruit tannins, elegant and velvety soft, and wonderful length.

The 1994 Gran Reserva Especial (from a great vintage) is medium ruby colored with a lovely bouquet of cherry blossom, earth notes, spice box, leather, black cherry, and plum. On the palate it is multifaceted, elegant, concentrated, impeccably balanced, and holding strong. It should drink nicely for another 10-15 years if not longer.


Coutts is a private bank and a wealth manager with three centuries of experience, providing customised solutions for its clients.

Coutts Index says:
- Over the past decade many wine vintages have risen in value by more than 250% .
- Coutts Index reveals passion investments have risen 77% since 2005, outperforming shares, according to the first edition of The Coutts Index: Objects of Desire.

- Name: Coutts & Co.
- Adress: 440 Strand, WC2R 0QS London, United Kingdom
- Web:

- Coutts & Co. is a private bank and wealth manager. It is one of the world’s oldest banks (founded 1692) and is wholly owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (itself 84% owned by UK Financial Investments Limited, an investment arm of the British government). RBS acquired Coutts when it bought NatWest in 2000. Coutts then acquired Zurich-based Bank von Ernst & Cie in 2003 and in 2008, Coutts Bank von Ernst and other Coutts International subsidiaries became RBS Coutts Bank. These traded as RBS Coutts International to align them with the parent RBS Group until 2011, when RBS Coutts was renamed Coutts & Co. Limited.

Headquartered in London, Coutts is the wealth division of Royal Bank of Scotland Group, with clients from over 40 offices in financial centres in the UK, Switzerland, the Middle East and Asia.

- Locations: Coutts has offices across the UK and world-wide. There are 28 offices in the UK as well as offices in Zurich, Berne and Geneva, Hong Kong, Montevideo, Singapore, Dubai, Jersey, Isle of Man, Monaco and Cayman Islands.

In 2013, Coutts reduced its London footprint with the exit of its Canary Wharf, St Mary Axe, Cadogan Place and Fleet Street offices. The Coutts head office remains in London at 440 Strand as its flagship client-facing office, with a further office in Premier Place. Outside London, the bank has offices in Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Eton, Exeter, Guildford, Hampshire, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle upon Tyne, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Reading, Sheffield, Royal Tunbridge Wells.

- Management:
. Chief Executive of Coutts (the Wealth division of RBS) Rory Tapner
. Chairman of Coutts & Co. Lord Waldegrave
. Chief Executive of Coutts & Co. (UK) Michael Morley
. Chief Executive of Coutts & Co. Ltd. (Zurich) Alexander Classen

- Other private banks owned by The Royal Bank of Scotland Group:
. Adam and Company
. Child & Co
. Drummonds Bank

- Clients: Until the 20th century Coutts was a clearing bank to the nobility and landed gentry, but today it is a wealth manager to a wider range of clients, including entrepreneurs, entertainers, sportsmen, professionals and executives. There are however stringent requirements to being accepted as a client, not just based on average and total financial assets. Prospective clients need at least £1,000,000 in investable assets, not including real estate.

Coutts is seen as a bank for the rich and famous of British society. Like all banks, it is secretive about its client list. The bank has a regular presence at the annual Cannes Film Festival. In 2013 Coutts replaced its purple 'World' charge card designed by Savile Row tailor Ozwald Boateng, with the new ‘Silk’ card. This new design is based on the traditional Chinese wallpaper which lines the walls of the boardroom at the Strand Headquarters.

- Design: Coutts often collaborates with British fashion designers, including previous designs for their distinctive credit and debit cards. In 2004, British fashion designer Ozwald Boateng designed the super-premium Coutts World Charge Card whilst in 2006 Stella McCartney was commissioned to design the Coutts Visa Debit card. The card included a translucent Coutts logo which could only be seen if held up to the light.

In 2013, Coutts launched a new card proposition, including the new Silk Charge Card. The silk design was inspired by the wallpaper brought back by Britain’s first ambassador to China, Earl Macartney in 1794, and presented to Thomas Coutts.

- Sponsorship: Coutts sponsorship focuses on causes and organisations that share the Coutts values and traditions.

In the early nineteenth century, Thomas Coutts became a shareholder of the Royal Opera House. Today, Coutts sponsors productions at the theatre, such as the 2013 production of La rondine. Since May 2011, Coutts has also been the principal sponsor of the Royal Court Theatre, the UK's leading new writing theatre based in Sloane Square.

Since 2011, Coutts has also supported the London Design Festival - an annual event, held to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world, and as the gateway to the international creative community.

- History: The bank which was to become Coutts & Co, was originally a goldsmith-banker's shop. It was formed in 1692 by a young Scots goldsmith-banker, John Campbell of Lundie, Scotland. He set up business in Strand, London, under a sign of the Three Crowns, as was customary in the days before street numbers. Today, the Coutts logo still has the three crowns, and its headquarters is still on the Strand.

Campbell died in 1712, leaving the business to members of his family. The dominant force was Campbell's son in law, George Middleton, who had become Campbell's partner in 1708. During Middleton's stewardship, the bank was buffeted by one crisis after another. The Jacobite revolution of 1715 threatened the stability of the banking system, John Law, the Comptroller of France's finances, owed a great deal of money to the bank when the Mississippi Company bubble burst in 1720 and the English stock market collapsed in the same year. Stability for the bank did not return until 1735. John's son, George Campbell was also a partner, and ultimately became the sole partner after the death of Middleton in 1747, after which the bank was renamed the "Bankers of 59 Strand".

In 1755, John Campbell's granddaughter, Mary (known as "Polly"), married a merchant and banker, James Coutts. Polly was George Campbell's niece and George immediately made James a partner. The bank became known as Campbell & Coutts. James ran the business. Following Polly's and George's deaths in 1760, James became the sole partner. George bequeathed most of his fortune, and the bank, to James.

Throughout the 20th century, Coutts opened more branches. The first West End branch outside 440 Strand was opened in 1921 in Park Lane. It was not until 1961 that the Bank moved outside the capital, opening its first out-of-town branch at Eton.

Coutts embraced modern technology, becoming one of the first banks to bring in machine-posted ledgers at the end of the 1920s. In 1963 it was the first British bank to have a fully computerised accounting system. In 1987, Coutts gained international representation when Coutts established operations in Geneva. In October 1990, Coutts and NatWest decided to strengthen their representation internationally and the Coutts Group was created when subsidiaries already owned by Coutts and NatWest were merged.

The acquisition of the NatWest Group in 2000 established Coutts as the private banking arm of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

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