By: Joe Manekin
K&L Staff Member
Often, our wine reviews will lead with the value proposition at hand: an extremely limited production, terrific value for money, the complexity of aromas and flavors. In this case, I find it necessary to open with an introduction of one of the more towering personalities in the wine world (or in any world, for that matter) I have ever met: Ezequiel "El Brujo" García. El Brujo studied with the great Bordeaux oenologist, Emile Peynaud. He made the incredible Cune wines of the 1960's. He was responsible for fine tuning Cune's Monopole white, a wine which absolutely dominated in its day (and a style which has become fashionable once again). He also became a friend of mine later in his life, someone who would enthusiastically discuss Rioja history, his experience informally advising wineries (amongst them, Lopez de Heredia), and really anything related to the region's local traditions and culture of wine. I love the name of this Rioja, Los Autores, because it was crafted by a true auteur. Ezequiel drew the image on the bottom right hand side of the label. He had an intimate understanding of the vineyards which would form the blend, as well as an idea of what proportion of the various grape varieties should be involved (typical of El Brujo's wines, there are important components of Mazuelo, Garnacha, and even white Viura grapes included). Finally, Ezequiel also selected the well seasoned, 8-10 year old barrels that the wine would age in for 36 months. Now to the wine: how does it taste? It's old school, light on its feet, history in a bottle. 2011 is a generous vintage if you're drinking it now, capable of early consumption, though this wine will undoubtedly reward cellaring. It reminds me of Tondonia, with its understated dark fruit, soft texture, and incredibly easy to drink profile. Sadly, this is the last wine that Ezequiel "El Brujo" would ever blend as he passed away last August. I would encourage you to stash some bottles away, being sure to enjoy at least one of them now and toast to the legend of "El Brujo."