Bodegas LAN was named after the initials of the three provinces in the Rioja Designation of Origin: Logroño (now La Rioja), Álava and Navarra. María Barua has been the head winemaker and technical director since 2002, and brings both scientific expertise, with an academic background in chemistry in addition to her oenology degree, and local knowledge, being born, raised and educated in Rioja. She and her young and energetic team focus not only on understanding the technical details of winemaking, but also on ‘expressing the virtues of the land’.
Grapes are selected from 10 to 20-year-old vines from Bodegas LAN's long-standing suppliers in the Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa subzones. Sloped plots of calcareous-clay soils with good drainage and sun exposure produce grapes of excellent concentration.
Like many parts of Western Europe, Spain experienced a cool growing season in 2010. But since the country is one of the hottest and driest in Europe, the cool weather was a boon, allowing fruit to ripen gradually. In Rioja, rainstorms during flowering reduced yields. Summer was dry and warm with great diurnal temperature ranges continuing through to harvest, resulting in wines with excellent flavour profiles.
After the initial fermenation, malolactic fermentation took place in new French oak barrels. During this process, the lees were stirred weekly to ensure maximum colour and tannin extraction as well as a fuller body. The wine spent seven months in new French oak barriques and a further six months in new Russian oak barrels. It is bottled unfiltered and unclarified to maintain all the subtle aromas and flavours – this produces a natural sediment inside the bottle which may need decanting.
Intense garnet in colour. Aromas of bright red fruits are layered with notes of vanilla and spices from oak ageing. The palate is exceptionally well structured and fleshy. The complex fruit and oak aromas are concentrated and long-lasting on the finish.
Full-Bodied and Rich Red Wines
Full-bodied wines typically have more tannin, higher alcohol, and dark fruit flavours such as blackcurrant. Since these wines have so much pigment, they are higher in anthocyanin which has shown positive benefits to cardiovascular health. As far as flavour, these wines are the biggest on the spectrum and thus, pair with equally bold flavoured food.
Room Temperature (63-69 °F / 17-21 °C)
Barbecue, Mexican Foods, Smoked Meats, Red Meat & Steaks, Savory Mushroom Dishes, Black Pepper
tbsp olive oil
3 medium or 2 large aubergines, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried oregano
500g minced lamb
2 tbsp tomato purée, mixed with 150ml water
150ml red wine
Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
For the bechamel:
60g plain flour
50g kefalotyri or pecorino cheese, grated
2 eggs, beaten
Nutmeg, to grate
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Cut the aubergines lengthways into 0.5cm slices, and put them on to oiled baking sheets. Brush with olive oil and season. Bake for about 25 minutes until soft, golden and floppy.
2.Meanwhile, put 2 tbsp olive oil into a large frying pan over a medium high heat and cook the onion until soft. Add the garlic, cinnamon and oregano and cook for a further couple of minutes, then stir in the lamb. Turn up the heat slightly, and brown the lamb well, cooking until the mixture is quite dry. Stir in the tomato and wine, bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down low and cook for 30–40 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season and stir in the parsley.
3. Meanwhile, make the bechamel. Bring the milk to just below boiling point, and melt the butter in another saucepan. Stir the flour into the butter and cook for a couple of minutes, then gradually whisk in the hot milk. Cook until you have a thick sauce, then stir in the cheese until melted. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly, then beat in the eggs, salt to taste and slightly more nutmeg than you might think wise (it's a strong flavour, but you need a heft of it in this dish I think - half a teaspoon at least).
4.Arrange a third of the aubergines in the base of an oven dish, and top with half the meat. Repeat these layers, then finish off with a layer of aubergine, and top with the sauce. Bake for about 45 minutes until well browned, and then leave to cool for half an hour before serving.
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