It was Robert's turn and he organized a tasting which is right in my wheelhouse. We assembled at Racion in Pasadena. I first dined here a few weeks after it opened and enjoyed the food so much we returned the following week. Who needs San Sebastian when it's only a few miles from home. Actually, I need San Sebastian, but to tell the truth, I think Racion is the best restaurant in Pasadena at the moment. We were treated quite well and as I remember, the food was outstanding. But enough on food, on to the wines.
Thanks to everyone, we assembled a wonderful line up of old and young starting first with a flight of four blancos, a mid flight of old Rioja reds, a third flight of younger Rioja reds and finishing with some, ahem...German Riesling ( I can't complain as the Rieslings were superb).
2004 Pazo de Señorans Albariño Rías Baixas Selección de Añada - Spain, Galicia, Rías Baixas (1/13/2013)
Dense, deep, but not overdone. Concentrated mineral/saline with a creamy texture no doubt due to the 3 yrs sur lie. Liked this a lot. Eric Soloman brings this to the US.
1989 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (1/13/2013)
Golden with a slight orange hue, dried stone fruits, lively acidity with great length and full mid palate. Wonderfully complex. This became more focused and taut by the end of the night which was quite puzzling given its earlier expressiveness. Loved this wine.
1996 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (1/13/2013)
Light yellow, some oak still shows here. Peaches and crushed flowers. A touch waxy in texture. Significantly less developed than the ’89. Needs time.
2002 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Crianza Viña Gravonia - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (1/13/2013)
Straw colored, tight, some creamy oaky flavors, lemon custard. After a few hours this began to open more showing more complexity and deeper flavors. Nice wine that could use a few years in the cellar.
1976 R. López de Heredia Rioja Gran Reserva Viña Bosconia - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (1/13/2013)
Awesome! Crimson with noticeable bricking. Explosive, complex, grippy. Clerries, leather, spice...really too much going on to describe. Just a fabulous wine drinking at its peak plateau.
1985 R. López de Heredia Rioja Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (1/13/2013)
Young, darker colored, cherry, tart with good depth of fruit. Still a little tannic, which shortens the finish, but a nice wine in need of more cellar time.
1991 R. López de Heredia Rioja Gran Reserva Viña Bosconia - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (1/13/2013)
Very tight and closed. Some musty notes give the impression of TCA, but this never really manifests. By the end of the night this is showing a bit more expressive with cherry notes and oak.
1992 Viña Valoria Rioja Gran Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja (1/13/2013)
Dark crimson, black cherry, oak, black pepper, green bell pepper. This is a more modern polished wine albeit still rather young. Nice, but missing some complexity.
2004 Bodegas Valdemar (Martinez Bujanda) Rioja Conde de Valdemar Gran Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (1/13/2013)
Dark red, cherry cola flavors. Wood spice comes through. Clunky tannins. Not a fan.
2004 Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alavesa, Rioja (1/13/2013)
Dark, brooding, concentrated fruits, polished but with good balance and complexity. This should be a great wine in 10 years.
2006 Señorío de San Vicente Tempranillo Rioja San Vicente - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja (1/13/2013)
Very deep, dark colored. Dense, concentrated sweet cherry fruit with oak, a touch of spicy bramble comes through. IMHO, in need of many years
2001 Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg Riesling Auslese - Germany, Rheinhessen (1/13/2013)
AP 0702. Lots of petrol on the nose with some grapefruit and slight skunk aromas. On the palate this just lovely. Polished, deep but light and lacy feel with nice complexity. Really focused and precise (I know it's a German Riesling cliche but it holds true). Superb length and finish. I would wager, just beginning its lengthy plateau of drinking pleasure.
2002 Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg Riesling Auslese - Germany, Rheinhessen (1/13/2013)
AP 1203. In contrast to the '01, this is much mellower, easy and open. Nothing compelling here, but it is a really nice wine to drink now. Good flavors, but the acidity is not as captivating and focused as I'd like.
And that concludes this marvelous tasting. Thanks to all.