With a bright ruby colour with a medium orange rim and lots of rolling legs(14.5% ABV), Sierra Cantabria Crianza 2011 noses fruity(cherries, blackberry, raspberry,) with sweet spices(vanilla, coconut, cinnamon and clove). On the second nose, it is slightly toasty and leathery. The palate reflects the same with added dimension of mineral, tobacco and with ripe tannins. Medium finish.
Hand-harvested, the grapes are destemmed and fermented in cool techniques, with local yeasts from their vineyards. The wine macerates with the grape skins for 16 days with two pump-overs per day, so the palate is soft. It ages for 14 months in Bordeaux barrels made of French and American oak, with rackings every four months, hence lots of sweet spices and the great ease to drink.
The grapes forming this wine is from 3 proprietary vineyards: La Veguilla, Jararte, and Valgrande located in San Vicente de la Sonsierra and Labastida. Average yield is 2 t/acre at an altitude of above 600 metres sea level, hence a lively acidity(comments also AG's Vinous) and don't feel the alcohol to that extent. Soils are calcareous clay with gravel, hence the minerality(see also Wilfred Wong's tasting). Unfiltered, hence some texture and intensity.
The soils and geological settings are conducive to optimum grape raising, hence the ripeness, with no loss of balance and complexities(see same comments of RP et al.) Complexity and intensities aside, this lower wine is as good as it elder brother Reserva Unicas. AG of Vious awarded one Point more for the Unicas. See http://www.dunndunnplus.com/single-post/2017/02/13/2011-Sierra-Cantabria-Rioja-Reserva-Unica
Scores are high enough for a humble wine. For example,
WW91Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
The Sierra Cantabria Crianza—one of world's most recognized and highly rated Riojas around the globe—has produced an excellent effort in 2011. The wine shows a very good depth of fruit, complexity, and balance. Drinks well now. (Tasted: August 23, 2016, San Francisco, CA)
Vinous: 91 Points
Brilliant ruby. Spice-accented aromas of black raspberry, cola and smoky minerals , along with a suave floral overtone. Silky and open-knit, offering sweet red berry flavors and suggestions of five-spice powder and candied rose. Finishes with bright, tangy lift, strong cut and very good persistence, leaving a juicy red berry quality behind.
Wine Advocate: 89 Points
The 2011 Crianza was more complex than its sibling. Aged 14 months in French and American oak, it offers up abundant notes of graphite, charcoal, blackcurrants and black cherries, a medium-bodied, precise mouthfeel and a savory finish. I preferred the 2011 to the 2010. Drink now-2018.