This was a points-chaser purchase. Well, sort of. I got the emailer touting this multi-96 point wine graced by the wine gurus, so my curiosity was peaked. I check on it with the maestros on wine such as this, Senior Counsel Mollen and King of Capital Johnny Morris, and they say something like “look you country bumpkin, just buy this damn thing”. So I grab three.
Glad I did.
Now mind you, Rioja is not normally my cup of tea. Outside of Ridge, and even Ridge gets my criticism at times, I’m not a fan of American Oak. I also tend to find Rioja showing a bit too much prickle juice, dill, vinegar, whatever you wish to call it. Well, this wine has a touch of that, but it is also impeccably balanced. Maturing nose of warm, dried red fruits, cigar box, balsamic, vanilla and cured meats. Medium body on the palate, silky, showing dried cherries and plums, tangy reds, saline and dry leather. Very sheer, transparent materials. Tannins largely resolved, crisp acids keep this wine refreshing, lip-smacking. Not something I seek out all the time, but I like it very much. (92 pts.)
Oops, just noticed a typo, Corey will have a field day with it. Ugh.
What’s the normal range for a quality Rioja from a strong vintage, 15-20 years for optimal? For example, I think of 20+ years for most of my 2005 Bordeaux, but most of them are more powerful and dense than this Rioja. This Rioja shows more maturity than any 2005 Bordeaux that I have recently tried.
Robert, curious if you have tried other vintages? I’ve always liked this wine, and when I lived in Europe in the 90’s drank it regularly (probably weekly) when in Spain on business. Had an 04 not too long ago and it reminded me of why I liked it.
As I clearly noted, I’m no expert in Rioja, just calling it as I see it. I just checked some of the critics’ reviews, couple suggesting start drinking now, none commenting on big tannins. CT notes are generally in accord. Would not seem that my note is off-kilter, but of course our palates could be totally different. I am sensitive to new oak and alcohol, but not tannins. Zero regrets popping this wine now, paired nicely with a grilled sirloin.
Nothing in the world with drinking them now. Knowing your palate as I do, though, I suspect you will like them a great deal more once they shed some oak and, well, clarify a bit. In 10 year’s time you’ll love the wine.
And pickle juice? I’ve never tasted pickle juice in a rioja
I’m moderately tolerant of american oak, but many LRA’s just have too much. I like the fruit and the structure of the wines, though. I had to give away some 94 Ardanza GR recently as I just couldn’t drink it.
I don’t find much in LdH wines. I’m most attracted to the more traditional wines–CVNE, riojanas, etc, from the 90’s backwards.