RODA is about Tempranillo1. 550 clones of it that they alone have identified. So far! 107 of which they use.
Cirsion (pronounced “Thirshun”) is literally a selection of individual vines from 17 different vineyards. How many Vin de Garde wines from anywhere are a selection of individual vines?!
Vintages are identified as Mediterranean or Atlantic (both influence Rioja, but do so differently each vintage). When they realized some clones of Tempranillo showed more “black fruit” and some “red fruit,” they created a companion wine to RODA (red fruit) and that is RODA I (black fruit). Both are Reservas.
RODA burst on the scene 25 years ago and was widely regarded as an instant classic. If Caceras brought current ideas to classic Rioja (like stainless steel) in the 1970s, then it was RODA that brought Rioja into the 21st century – clonal selection, barrel trials, gravity fed, cutting edge label design all a decade or two ahead of their time.
Rioja, stubbornly stuck with unique vinicultural traditions, is simultaneously Shangri La2, for traditionalists and conversely, the “Land That Time Forgot,”3 where some of the wines taste like they probably did 50 or 75 years ago, faults and flaws included.
RODA threw it all out the window, but culture is sometimes like a boomerang. It updated and anticipated every detail, found great vineyards (and bought them) and refined every process. Modern architecture, labels and winemaking ideas, all served the sole purpose of proving how great “updated” Rioja can be.
Based on RODA’s approach, I suspect it was a bit surprised by initial results and probably even more shocked looking back over 25 amazing vintages. The wines did not veer off on some post-modern tangent, as one might expect, and they are unequivocally Rioja, and modern Rioja, at that.
If RODA was from Bordeaux, it would be called Valandraud. From, Napa it would be called Araujo. RODA is a vanguard for the region and a modern Spanish icon.
There is also an amazing Ribera del Duero project called Bodegas La Horra, and there are some olive oils that made us weep with joy. RODA’s place in America has been a little under the radar in recent years. We’re going to solve that in Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. RODA will be available from a different importer in other states.
1 I should probably start paying royalties to The Kinks. I’m so happy every time I think about RODA, I hear the Kinks in my head. “I met her in a club down in old Haro, Where you drink Tempranillo and it tastes just like Bodegas RODA, R-O-D-A, RODA” or “Met a wine called RODA and I took it back to my place…”
2 Columbia Pictures, Lost Horizon (1937) Shangri La is featured prominently in Frank Capra’s great film.
3 Amicus Productions, “The Land That Time Forgot” (1975), very poor filmmaking.