You say you would like to experience older vintage wines more often, but you don’t have a way to store them for years. And, you really don’t want to spend in the hundreds to buy a reputable label that’s a decade or more old. Well, not to worry, there are some fabulous wines available that offer all the nuance and complexity that only time can develop. Oh, and the price, how does between $29.00 and $40.00 sound?
No, this isn’t one of those promos like you often see on web sites where everything you read sounds too good to be true, then you have to pay up to find out what it is. I’ll actually tell you what I am talking about for free! Yes, partly because it’s my job, but even if I wasn’t a wine retailer I’d be stopping you on the street to tell you about these wines.
If you guessed old vintage Gran Reserva wines from Spain, then you must be well traveled or a Master of Wine candidate because you are correct. Anyway, Gran Reserva wines are, as stated in Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine, defined as follows: “Spanish term for a wine supposedly from an outstanding vintage which has been subject to lengthy ageing before release. Red wines must spend a minimum of two years in barriques, and another three years in tank or bottle. The wine may not leave the bodega (winery) until the sixth year after the vintage.” Usually the wines are held for a decade and often decades.
So there you have it, thanks to the great “sell no wine before its time” tradition of cellaring wines until they are more drinkable and complex, you can enjoy beautiful older vintage wines at an affordable price. And, I’m sure you saw this coming, it just so happens that we have four excellent bottlings from the Rioja region which I highly recommend.
Check these out while they are still available:
- 2001 La Rioja Alta “Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial” (80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha) at $28.99.
- 2001 Bodegas Riojanas “Monte Real Gran Reserva” (80% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo, 5% Graciano) at $32.99.
- 1998 Bodegas Riojanas “Vina Albina Gran Reserva” (80% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo, 5% Graciano) at $35.99
- 1998 Bodegas Riojanas “Monte Real Gran Reserva” ( 80% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo, 5% Graciano) at $39.99
Although all the wines are outstanding, I particularly enjoyed the flavors in the Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial. Since I am not a poet, which you almost need to be in order to capture the intrigue and nuance of this wine, here’s a basic description from the winery:
“Medium-high cherry red robe, with orange tinted tones on the edge of the glass, clear and brilliant, intense and complex on the nose. Wild berry aromas predominate, blended with hints of coconut, cinnamon, tobacco and leather. Full-bodied and well structured to the palate, with silky and enveloping tannins. Long after-taste acquired from its lengthy time in bottle, where its elegant bouquet gains intensity.” Believe me, they aren’t kidding about the silky part.
Cook up a nice dinner, say a pork roast, lamb or filet, or just sit by the fire and sip away on one of these. I think you will truly enjoy the experience. Let me know if you try one: firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!
Gary M, Beltramo’s Wine Consultant