Basilio Izquierdo is an influential figure in Rioja. His more than three decades at Cvne (Imperial, Viña Real and some time at Contino) have given him a wide perspective of the region and its historical wines.
Already in his 60s, he launched a project in 2007 to produce a renewed version of the Riojas from yesteryear made with grapes from here and there. His red B de Basilio (€32) could well be a Viña Real from the 21st century: it blends 30% Tempranillo from Leza and Laguardia (Rioja Alavesa); 30% Tempranillo and a drop of Graciano from Haro (Rioja Alta) and 30% Garnacha from Tudelilla (Rioja Baja) and Cárdenas (Najerilla Valley). Despite its relatively high price, the 2007 vintage shows a juicy, nervy character with more taste and intensity than structure and expressive red fruit notes.
The white B de Basilio (€35) is mostly Garnacha Blanca, an unusual grape in the region, with a small percentage of Viura in the blend. Fermented and aged in barrels for 8-11 months, it has been produced since 2007 although in very small quantities. Grapes come from Gallocanta, an area in San Vicente de la Sonsierra and Briones. The wine is an oddity and comes with a glass cork, which is rather unusual in Spain. Bottle evolution for some vintages is quite interesting.
A new addition is the Acodo range, which includes a white (€17.5), a rosé (€23.5) and a red (€17.5). Their shared leit motiv lies in the origins of the vines, which precede the start of clonal selection. The quirkiest is probably the rosé – a blend of 70% Garnacha Tinta and 30% Garnacha Gris, barrel-fermented and aged on its lees for eight months.
Izquierdo does not own any vineyards. His website offers bespoke bottlings for customers who wish to purchase “a long-lived wine to celebrate a special date”. A rather suggestive offer coming from someone who is used to making wines for posterity.