Pomal launches rule-breaking Rioja for younger generation

Viña Pomal has launched a new Rioja that “breaks all the rules” in an attempt to appeal to a younger generation of wine drinkers, according to Alejandro López, winemaker for the brand at parent company, Bodegas Bilbaínas.

Compromiso carries no age statement, but it is priced above Pomal’s Gran Reserva

Called Compromiso, the new label comes with a £35 RRP, but eschews the classic quality designations of Reserva or Gran Reserva, and doesn’t express a particular site.

“With Compromiso we are breaking all the rules; it is not a wine from a single vineyard, it is not a reserva or a gran reserva, and it is not a single varietal wine either,” explained López, in a discussion with db at a launch event in London last month.

“It is just a generic young wine,” he added, referring to Rioja’s official classification, which would see the new product billed as ‘generico’, even though López added that the retail price for the new label is higher than that for Pomal’s Gran Reserva.

So what is Compromiso? “It is a blend of five different varieties and a blend of five different styles,” said López.

Launching with the 2015 vintage, López said Compromiso – which means ‘commitment’ – was “a blend of the classic and modern”, and designed to be a Rioja to appeal to young people.

In fact, it combines Rioja’s the five Rioja red grapes: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Maturana Tinta, Graciano and Mazuelo, each of which is vinified separately, and then aged for 14 months, including four months in 225-litre French and American oak barrels.

Notably, the US oak vessels are covered in tattoos by the world’s six most-celebrated tattooists, making Compromiso the first wine to be aged in tattooed barriques, according to press information released by Pomal.

Presumably, such a decision was taken to draw attention to this Rioja’s rule-breaking style, while enhancing the label’s appeal to a younger wine drinker.

With etched glass, it’s packaging too is distinctive, not least due to the extremely heavy bottle the Rioja is housed in, which López told db weighs as much as 1.2kg when empty.

In terms of style, the Rioja “has a modern profile, but I didn’t want a sweet sensation from oak,” said López, explaining why Compromiso is dominated by a pleasing combination of ripe red and dark berry fruit flavours, and sees just four months in barrique.

This is certainly an interesting addition to the Rioja wine scene, which has recently undergone a shake-up, with the region introducing a rebrand in April this year, following a move that permitted the production of single varietal white wines, among other changes.

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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RIOJA’S NEW RULES

One Response to “Pomal launches rule-breaking Rioja for younger generation”

  1. Peter Arnold says:

    If you have to resort to marketing wines to a younger generation by “covering the barrels in tattoos by the world’s six most-celebrated tattooists, making Compromiso the first wine to be aged in tattooed barriques”, it’s probably time to throw in the towel and look for another line of work. Utter codswallop!

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