January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Paul Winalski » Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:19 am

Muchas gracias, all, for the wine reviews and comments concerning Rioja. I adore the region's style, and all these postings have reminded me of how much I've neglected that region of late.

-Paul W.
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Tim York » Sat Jan 09, 2010 4:51 am

Noel Ermitano wrote:I'm not sure if I posted this before. Please excuse me if I have.

From a little less than 4 months ago.



Thanks for those mouth-watering notes and pics, Noel. I envy your skill with the camera as well as your tasting opportunities.
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:16 am

Noel, I see on the other forum that you are meeting some folks/posters in Barcelona. Great planning eh.
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Noel Ermitano » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:08 am

A happy coincidence that they'll be there around the time I will. Should be fun as we've corresponded on that board many times but have never met in person. I always enjoy actually meeting wine board friends.

N
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WTN: 2001 Lopez de Heredia Crianza Vina Cubillo

Postby David M. Bueker » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:56 pm

Another of the traditional Rioja for this month (I have one thoroughly modern wine in the cellar that will get opened soon), the '01 LdH Crianza is less distinctive, but very enjoyable with its dusty fruit and prominent acid structure. There's meatloaf for dinner & this should work very well with comfort food.
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:21 am

Wonderful news today from the winery sales office. Bodegas LdeH/Tondonia/Bosconia has a new rep for BC and Alberta!
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Tim York » Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:33 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Wonderful news today from the winery sales office. Bodegas LdeH/Tondonia/Bosconia has a new rep for BC and Alberta!


Bob, you are lucky. The only Belgian distributor shown of the LdH website is in Bruges, a 250km round trip. Spanish pork on the menu for tonight. I'll get out a Rioja :) .
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Bruce Hayes » Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:48 pm

Herencia Remondo La Montesa 2006
Palacios/Remondo

Cherry red in the glass.
Spicy, chocolate on the nose.
Light to medium weight, viscous in the mouth, chocolate, soft and silky, dry, a bitter streak toward the end, no fruit at all.
Lightly mouthwatering on the finish.
Not much of anything going on with this wine. A great disappointment.
Purchased at $19.95 (Canadian).
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Tim York » Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:48 pm

Rioja San Vicente 1995 – Señorio San Vicente, Eguren- Alc. 13.5% - (c.€ 30 for a current vintage), from Tempranillo and matured for 21 months in American oak. Aromas were well developed with round dark fruit, a lot of sweet dark cherry and small dashes of kirsch, mint and quinine; the palate was full bodied with rich substance and fruit and structure was firm supporting well the finish; at first the tannins seemed too bitter and dry, like with many French ‘95s, but with airing and increasing temperature in the dining room they became better covered by the fruit and aromas. This Rioja showed more structure than most Riojas whilst retaining harmony unlike some blockbusters and the prolonged American oak ageing had been well absorbed; 17/20 by the end of the meal.

A bit too assertive for the pork. A rare T-bone steak or game would have been better.
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby R Cabrera » Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:19 am

TNs: Dinner at The Goose Station, Fort Bonifacio, Philippines 01/06/2010
The Spanish wines were provided by Jun B.

1978 Bodegas Riojanas Vina Albina Gran Reserva
The cork on this bottle was hardly saturated at all. The wine was deep plum red with just the slightest of transparency near the rim. Mature nose of leather, old wood, animal blood, and mushroom. With time in the glass, the nose morphed to include flowers and ripe fruit. On the palate, very lean fruit, somewhat unripe but fresh cherries, slight green notes. A full-bodied wine. I wasn’t impressed with the balance. B

1987 La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva
Lighter color and with tinge of orange. Complex and expressive nose with phosphorous, wet earth, wood, tea, slight band-aid, and meat. Greeted with lively acidity, tannin, if this was served blind to me I would have thought it to be a wine no older than 10 years old. A voluptuous mouth-feel, some orange notes. Drinkable now, but need food to go with it. Imo, will get better with more cellar years. B+
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Victor de la Serna » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:45 pm

TN: Paisajes VII 2004 in magnum

The 'Paisajes' series is a joint venture of winemaker Miguel Ángel de Gregorio (Finca Allende) and wine merchant Quim Vila (Vila Viniteca, Barcelona). Paisajes VII is a garnacha (grenache) varietal from the Cecias vineyard, 89 years old in 2004, located at Aguilar in southeastern Rioja.

Still a very young wine. A nose of garrigue, red berries, faded rose petals, light toastiness (more from the warm terroir than from the oak, I'd say). Very lively, fruity and mouthfilling, long finish, it goes well with food - but rewards some prior oxygenation; this wine is still not at its peak. Good overall acidity and balance. Like an attractively 'sauvage' cousin of a CdP. Lots of terroir here. Good job by Miguel Angel.

I find it more shocking every day that they couldn't find (or didn't want to find) any grenache from Rioja worthy of that famous grenache tasting with Robert Parker in Logroño, back in November...
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:50 pm

Victor, not often we see a TN from you here! I have an `04 Allende in the cellar, should wait a while maybe?
Grenache gets no respect from some folks eh!!! (Various blogs mention your wine noted here).
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Richard Fadeley » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:58 pm

WTN: Marques de Caceras '05 Crianza, Rioja I was pleasantly surprised with a bottle of '05 Caceras Crianza. It was quality wine and @ $11.50 brought back memories of Rioja that I used to enjoy. Really nice on the second night! I hope this signifies a return to Rioja that I loved. 13% ABV and hitting on all the high spots.
Last edited by Richard Fadeley on Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Victor de la Serna » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:53 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Victor, not often we see a TN from you here! I have an `04 Allende in the cellar, should wait a while maybe?
Grenache gets no respect from some folks eh!!! (Various blogs mention your wine noted here).

Allende is 100% tempranillo and a quite different animal from Paisajes VII, Bob. The 2004 is very drinkable now. Not a great wine, but an attractive one, I think. I'm not much into writing tasting notes indeed. But I think that it's helpful in this Wine Focus context to widen the scope of what Rioja is or should be...
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:29 am

WTN: `01 Aribau Cuvee Reserva Rioja.

Old established bodegas but with average reputation I think? Lot`01/12, 13.5% alc, $26 Cdn. Good natural cork, not decanted, slight trace of sediment. 100% Tempranillo.

Color is a medium cherry but found some red under a different light. Very thin watery rim, no real sign of age. On the nose plum, cherry, redcurrants. Some mineral here, spice but fades with time in the glass
Red berry tones on the palate, cocoa, hint of sweetness. V.lite tannins, some elegance, not too big a wine. Has a fair balance, more plum on day 2.
Think I preferred the `01 Bordon I posted on last week.

Bob thanks.
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Tim York » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:15 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:WTN: `01 Aribau Cuvee Reserva Rioja.



Both this and the Bordon sound like traditionally styled wines. This one doesn't sound as if it has a lot more mileage in it?
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby David M. Bueker » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:35 am

Tim York wrote:
Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:WTN: `01 Aribau Cuvee Reserva Rioja.



Both this and the Bordon sound like traditionally styled wines. This one doesn't sound as if it has a lot more mileage in it?


This brings up a quesiton of when these wines are released. I was under the impression that some of the traditional producers released wines that they felt were ready to drink. Wouldn't that imply that we are not generally expected to age them? I know that at least some can age (e.g. LdH), but I thought the general idea was release=drink.
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby JC (NC) » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:01 pm

WTN: 2004 Lar de Paula Tempranillo Rioja Old Vines

One site currently has this bottle for $32. I may have paid less on initial purchase.
14.5% alcohol by volume. Produced and bottled by Lar de Paula, Elvillar de Alava, Spain. Imported by Turner Wine Imports, Morrisville, NC.
Opaque dark purple color. Dark plum and dark berries on nose and palate. Layered (woolly?) texture in the mouth. Long finish. Could overpower lighter meats. The first night I didn't like it as well as the Muga Seleccion Especial Reserva. A bit disappointing. However, I thought it gained a little by the second day and it did go nicely with hard cheese. I didn't have Manchego or another Spanish cheese so had it with bites of Asiago. It revealed a slight pepper note the second evening. I would rate it mid-80's or in the B or B- range.
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:55 pm

Nice note there JC. We all apear to be finding/tasting some nice wines.

I have to think that many of the "traditional style" wines do not appear to fall apart overnight!!!
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Tim York » Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:56 am

David M. Bueker wrote:
Tim York wrote:
Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:WTN: `01 Aribau Cuvee Reserva Rioja.



Both this and the Bordon sound like traditionally styled wines. This one doesn't sound as if it has a lot more mileage in it?


This brings up a quesiton of when these wines are released. I was under the impression that some of the traditional producers released wines that they felt were ready to drink. Wouldn't that imply that we are not generally expected to age them? I know that at least some can age (e.g. LdH), but I thought the general idea was release=drink.


Interesting question. When I last visited Spain (as long ago as 96 or 97 :( ), wines like CNVE's Gran Reserva 87 and Beronia Gran Reserva 82 were the current releases on the market; i.e. already of a quite respectable age. I don't know if 10 year old + wines still make up the current releases of those and similar houses.

I can vouch for the fact that Imperial 87 was drinking beautifully a couple of years ago and the Beronia 82 also beautifully in about 1998/9. I also owned 3 bottles of Imperial 66, only the last of which was tiring when opened a couple of years ago. Like some other people here, I have been to verticals where some bottles of Imperial and Viña Real Gran Reservas and Reservas were showing very gracefully from back into the 50s and I guess that the same would be true of Murrieta and Riscal from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

I guess that Gran Reservas, etc. from lesser houses and vintages have always tired much quicker.

Does anyone have experience on CVNE's Imperial and Viña Real from mid-90s onwards vintages? I have heard mixed views.
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Bruce Hayes » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:29 am

Baron De Lay Rioja Blanco 2008

A 90-10 blend of Viura and Malvasia.

Bright yellow in the glass.
Light citrus and spicy on the nose.
The wine shows very little straight from the fridge and appears quite thin. With time, and warming, it begins to emerge. Light to medium weight, gentle pear, lemon, lime, citrus rind, tangy acidity, spicy, honeyed, peppery, crisp, clean and refreshing.
Lemon, light citrus rind and mouthwatering on the finish.
Purchased at $12.95 (Canadian).
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby David M. Bueker » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:47 am

Tim York wrote:
Does anyone have experience on CVNE's Imperial and Viña Real from mid-90s onwards vintages? I have heard mixed views.


I have a bottle of the '95 Viña Real that will be opened during this month's focus, so that will be one data point.
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Tim York » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:39 pm

I found this WTN from 2001 on a vertical of CVNE's Viña Real Gran Reserva. I hope that this helps the discussion on the behaviour of a top brand of traditional Rioja through the ageing cycle. (Incidentally I'm not sure that Viña Real is (or was) predominately from Garnacha, though that was stated by Mike Berry at the tasting; the CVNE website states that the 1998 GR is 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano.)

Topic: TN: A vertical of CVNE''s Viña Real Gran Reserva.
Author: Tim York
Date: Tue Dec 4 10:10:17 2001

Another illuminating vertical at La Vigneronne on 29th November tutored by Mike Berry.

Viña Real and the perhaps better known Imperial and Contino are the jewels in the crown of the highy respected Rioja shipper Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España ("CVNE" or "Cune"). Viña Real is sourced principally from Garnacha grapes grown in the Alavesa region of Rioja and is intended to be "burgundian" in character as the bottle shape implies. Imperial is sourced mainly from Tempranillo and is more "bordelais" in character as well as in bottle shape.

In general the colour of these wines was brick of medium depth. The deepest was 1994 but not even the oldest showed significant paling or browning at the edges.

- 1994 - N: Sweet elegance ("hints of spice and nutmeg" said Mike Berry) but relatively one dimensional on return after sampling its older brothers. P: Sweet fruit balanced by marked but non-astringent acidity together with good substance and structure. Already marking the character of the tasting; not a blockbuster but a firm, elegant and well balanced wine only asking for time to develop the aromatics and sensuality of the better older vintages. Very good/excellent already; potentially excellent/outstanding.
- 1991 - N: Creamier or more evolved than previous. P: More disjointed and less structure and acidity than previous but with nice ripe fruit w raspberry hints. A hint of dustiness on finish. Near its peak. Very good.
- 1982 - N: Sweet fruit showing some evolution and opening up on swirl depths on roundness and complexity with hints of leather. P: Beautifully balanced and elegant with complex fruit, grip, structure and length and velvety mouth-feel. Maybe a little more time required to extract the optimum sensuality. Excellent; potentially outstanding.
- 1981 - N: Sweeter and more minty than previous with cherry hints. P: Hints of jamminess and one of the sweetest and biggest of the range but with good grip and stucture. Less well balanced and elegant than the best and probably at its peak. Very good/excellent.
- 1970 - N: Rich and complex. P: Rich, discreetly sensual and deep w chocolate hints and ripe structure. I managed to buy the shop''s last bottle of this. Excellent.
- 1968 - N: Sweet fruit with some mint and a wet dog note. P: Sweetly elegant but with malt notes and marked acidity. Less generous than the best and short on sensuality. Considering than Mike Berry had built up 1968 as an outstanding vintage, I found this disappointing. A poor bottle? Perhaps more airing in the decanter was required; one of the other tasters commented that he had had similar first impression to mine at a dinner, by the end of which the wine had blown off the wet dog aroma and had fleshed out into an outstanding drink. Good + tonight; potentially ?
- 1966 - N: Sweet, elegant and complex. P: Well balanced, elegant, round and deep with a velvety mouth-feel. Hints of drying on the finish. Excellent but drink up.
- 1964 - N: Sweet fruit of great complexity, roundness and elegance with a hint of meat. P: Everything perfectly mature and in balance. Rich fruit, ripe structure, sufficient grip, velvety mouth-feel and great length. Outstanding.
- 1962 - N: Lovely discreet red fruit w coffee hints. P: Elegant sweet fruit and attractively aromatic but leaner and drier than previous. 1964 was a hard act to follow. Very good/excellent; drink up.
- 1959 - N: More subdued than some w mint and meat notes together with some wet dog initially which blew off. P: Still very vigorous and youthful-seeming and bigger than most of the others. Sweet, almost jammy, fruit balanced by still perceptible acid and tannin. Excellent.

This tasting was another demonstration of how perfect mature classically made Rioja can be in an elegantly sensual style. Mike Berry said that an earlier vertical of Imperial, which sadly I did not attend, was perhaps even more remarkable with vintages back to the 30s still showing outstandingly well. For me the best classic Rioja ranks in its own style right up alongside the best Bordeaux, burgundy, northern Rhône and Barolo. My big regret is that most Rioja producers now seem to eschew this style in favour a more blockbusting "international" character. Nevertheless, if the Viña Real 1994 is indicative, CVNE is still an address at which potentially great classic Riojas can still be obtained by those with the patience to let them realise their potential.
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Re: January 2010 Wine Focus: Rioja

Postby Paul Winalski » Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:20 am

Thanks for sharing those wonderful tasting notes. As I said before, I have fond memories of CVNE gran reserva wines from the early and mid 1970s, drunk in the late 1980s. I've lost contact with the estate since then. It is very encouraging to hear that the estate has not abandoned the traditional style.

-Paul W.
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