Old Rioja Retrospective 1942-1982 Cellar 13 ATL

Bob Fleming put this together and I had the good fortune to attend.
Everyone brought food. The lamb was fantastic with these wines!
John Passman helped with the arrangements. Thank you both.

Rioja ages gracefully.

1982 Riojanas Monte Real Reserva

Beautiful nose of dark fruit. Mushrooms in the background. Youthful. Midpalate power here with very young red fruit. Silky. Excellent!

1970 CVNE Vina Real Gran Reserva

Huge wine. Very dark. Many thought this oxidized and showing very old fruit. Very powerful. An enigma. I am thinking this wasn’t whole.

1970 Marques de Legarda


1964 CVNE Vina Real Reserva Especial

Absolutely wonderful nose. Red fruit. Mushrooms. Tobacco. So complex. The palate is powerful yet shows such finesse. Huge palate presence but very refreshing finish. Stunning! My personal wine of the tasting.

1964 Camp Viejo

Extraordinary! Fantastic nose. Medium concentrated with terrific balance. Older red fruit and mushroom. Delicate. In many ways like a Volnay from Burgundy. Persistent. This was tied for my second favorite with the 1956.

1964 Riojanas Vina Albina Reserva

Terrific nose. Red fruit. Mushroom. Refreshing quality. Youthful appearance. Beautiful resolved palate with a very long finish. Fantastic.

1964 Riojanas Monte Real Reserva


1956 Riojanas Monte Real Reserva
Meaty nose. Dark fruit. High alcohol. “Chateauneuf du Pape” like. Huge ripe palate that is loaded with dark fruit and beef stock type elements. Finishes complex and long. Probably the most interesting of the tasting especially with Lamb.

1954 Lopez de Heredia Tondonia

Volatile. Balsamic character. Thick and overripe. Difficult.

1942 Riojanas Vina Albina Vieja Reserva

Somewhat musty nose on opening but settles down. Dark fruit. Earthy notes. Mushroom. Soy sauce. Very long finish. Quite nice.

I would agree the 1970 CVNE doesn’t sound whole. The one bottle I’ve had was huge as you’ve described but had a nice depth of not old fruit, and no oxidation. The one note is that it does take quite a bit of air to come around, but I presume you folks accounted for that.

Sounds like great fun. Next time you see him, tell Fleming we miss his posts here


We did give it a fair amount of air. Just never came around.


I will tell him.

I seem to be getting a large proportion of problem bottles with the older Lopez Heredia, far more in fact than other producers of old Rioja. Is that the experience of others?

Great lineup, Don. As you know, I love me some classic, old school Rioja.

How much air to you give the wines? My experience is that they usually take a couple of hours to really start strutting their stuff. I especially love the '42 Riojanas Vina Albina Reserva, '64 Cune Vina Real Reserva Especial, 70 Cune Vina Real Gran Reserva and the '54 LdH Tondonia from your lineup. I haven’t had tremendous success with the '64 Riojanas Monte Real Reserva, but their '64 Monte Real Gran Reserva is one of my favorites from the vintage.

Btw, I think what you see as mushroom is what I usually note as musty barrels/worn wood. It’s pretty typical in Rioja of that age.

Mark, haven’t you been reading wine boards for 20+ years? How could you not have seen threads about this? newhere [wink.gif]

He only reads the threads that say “Bordeaux” in the subject line.


Sadly true. Don’t waste too much time with Spanish threads neener

Chuckles, guys. Don, sounds like a very fun tasting, certainly a pretty big spectrum on your notes, shame about the two corked bottles, but glad so many others were expressive.




Great notes. We had a bottle of '64 Vina Real recently and it was the wine of the lunch, followed by a '62 Vina Real.

As for decanting, I find that these wines need a good 45 minutes to open up. Rarely do they fall apart an typically not much sediment.

A question for you all, especially Brad: what’s up with the two different colored labels for the Riojanas Vina Albina? One has a mostly white lower half and the other is very dark - the picture is the same “Seville expo gold medal”…original vs. late released?