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Community Tasting Notes (average 44 notes) - and median of 92 pts. in hiding notes with no text
| ||Tasted by Xavier Auerbach on 6/1/2015 & rated 88 points: A private tasting (Restaurant De Gieser Wildeman *, Noordeloos, Netherlands): Youthful colour, medium depth, hardly any browning; bright cherry fruit, hint of the stalks, fresh, good intensity, oak; youthful, ripe fruit, slightly lactic, firm tannins, modern, liquorice root, sweet, spices, good length. Does not live up to its billing. (1076 views)|
| ||Tasted by ELH on 5/19/2015 & rated 92 points: Black cherry, leather, vanilla, and earthy. Medium body. Excellent food wine. Paired well with Bob's barbecued chicken. Not decanted. Drinking well now. (1012 views)|
| ||Tasted by Life At Your Leisure on 4/25/2015 & rated 95 points: Bright ruby color turning violet at the rim with a nose of red and black fruits, vanilla, smoke and cola. The palate is bold, dry, full-bodied with a silky texture. Flavors of red cherry, currant, tobacco, dark chocolate and licorice form the core that's sharply intense that shoots through with a long, sustained finish with hints of grilled meat, dried herbs, and sweet tannins. This is traditional Rioja at its best. Drink now with 30 minutes decant until 2030. (1060 views)|
| ||Tasted by glfoster on 2/28/2015 & rated 92 points: Agree with previous notes. This wine was wonderful, but could be kept much longer. Rich, dark aromas of dark fruit, vanilla, leather and hint of spice to balance all wrapped up in a layered complex bouquet and palate. (1577 views)|
| ||Tasted by wpiers on 2/22/2015 & rated 92 points: Still has legs for another 5 yrs (1368 views)|
| ||Tasted by garambler on 2/18/2015 & rated 92 points: Friends brought this to a 10/4/14 Tempranillo tasting. It had a deep, complex and musty bouquet of black cherry, char, mocha, vanilla, herb and spice aromas. The palate was rich, powerful, layered and dry with flavors of black cherry, mocha, rose hip tea, vanilla, herb, and spice. Our group’s average score was 90.33...mine 91+ (1471 views)|
| ||Tasted by JDani on 12/25/2014 & rated 91 points: Spice, leather, oak. Medium finish. Very enjoyable. Paired well with enchiladas. (1598 views)|
| ||Tasted by rupertg on 12/19/2014 & rated 92 points: Red rim, dark centre Little sediment. Classic nose, still quite tannic, so still maturing. Very popular amongst other drinkers. Full blackcurrant aftertaste. Good for at least five years. (1613 views)|
| ||Tasted by djinc01 on 8/9/2014 & rated 92 points: Upon opening the nose slowly comes to the surface. Deep rich ruby intense dark cherry flavors, toasted oak. Still showing some tannins and drinking beautifully. (2961 views)|
| ||Tasted by Umay Ceviker on 7/4/2014 & rated 94 points: Deep ruby in colour. Dusty nose with elegantly managed oak followed by lively mixed berries and layered with spice, leather, tobacco and cured meat. Nicely concentrated with intriguing fruit and a velvety mouth-feel. (2210 views)|
| ||Tasted by Derek Darth Taster on 5/28/2014 & rated 91 points: A serious White Night, and some Reds thrown in for good measure (Extra Space): Pop and poured.|
Appearance is clear, deep intensity, ruby colour. Long legs.
Nose is clean, pronounced intensity, with toasted vanilla oak and plums. Developing.
On the palate, dry, medium acidity, medium+ alcohol, high tannins, full body. Medium+ flavour intensity, with flavours of creamy vanilla oak and sweet red plums. Nice mouth-feel. Medium+ finish.
Very good quality. Will improve with further ageing. Give it another 5-8 years before re-exploring. (2839 views)
| ||Tasted by clairenclarence on 5/28/2014 & rated 94 points: before i proceed,let me emphasis tat wine bttl sip from different enviroment n different wine glass peform differently.pop n pour.soft structure.intense rich concentrated fruits.beautiful texture.focus.nice depth n complexity.sligthly over evident oak presence.aicidity cn b better here.tis bttl remind me flacianello 07.rather similiar style.(energy in fruits yet with elegance).conclusion:i reali njoy tis bttl.if with slightly less oak presence to my liking,wil score 1 more point here. (3531 views)|
| ||Tasted by LoireFan on 5/18/2014 & rated 92 points: Maybe 93. This was so elegant and wonderful. (2770 views)|
| ||Tasted by mschede on 5/17/2014 & rated 91 points: Cor rubi/ roxa escura. Nariz com aromas ainda focados na fruta, que remetem a amoras azedinhas, groselha e framboesa, boa nota terrosa, sutil traço de fina madeira, toque defumado e alguma mineralidade.. Encorpado e notavelmente equilibrado, tendo excelente acidez, fruta elegante e bela estrutura com taninos muito finos.. Já bem integrado e agradável, mas ainda isento de terciários. Outra só após 2017.. (91+) (1837 views)|
| ||Tasted by Rezy13 on 5/9/2014: Friday Night Double Blind Tasting $40+ (Bin 75): Dark fruit, lots of vanilla, green quality; good texture with medium plus body, darker fruit on the palate, seemingly corked...on day two this was much better, open and expressive; good. (1556 views)|
| ||Tasted by nygr22 on 5/4/2014 & rated 92 points: Hints of coffee, Chocolate, vanilla, and oak on the nose. Strawberry and black pepper come through first on the palate with a medium long finish. (1022 views)|
| ||Tasted by mobuk1969 on 4/25/2014 & rated 91 points: Got oak and some toasty hints on the nose. The Tannins were quite young and danced around on my first taste but settled down and was a lot smoother towards the end.|
Color was deep red/blackberry and I got a lot of dark berries oak and vanilla.
This wine will be even better in a few years so getting one to keep. (1494 views)
| ||Tasted by Phenol73 on 3/15/2014 & rated 93 points: A nose of lifted complexity, showing black cherries, stewed berries and figs, fennel, dill, mocha and a note of damp earth. Gorgeous and intoxicating. The palate is very lively. Signature Tempranillo tartness and perky acidity give this a really fresh beat. The tanins are still quite juvenile - all blustery and a bit showy. The structure is excellent but tanins are still a touch drying at this stage. Overall, this is fantastic grape juice, still in its youth and with enough pedigry and stuffing to become something quite special in middle age. (2212 views)|
| ||Tasted by clairenclarence on 2/21/2014 & rated 92 points: pop n pour.bttl decant 1 hr.nice structure n texture.cherry,plum,spice,slight earthy.traces of mineral n oak presence.elegance with power.nice balance.ting i dont like:slightly dry n rather short finish.tis bttl seriously nd time.another bttl deserve to collect. (2176 views)|
| ||Tasted by Derek Darth Taster on 2/21/2014 & rated 90 points: Aussie Shiraz Tasting & Friday wine night at UE Straits (1855 and UE Straits Wine): Tasted blind. |
Appearance is clear, deep intensity, ruby colour.
Nose is clean and pronounced with oak dominated aroma.
Medium acidity, lots of drying tannins, and a full body, with lots of flavours of primary red fruit, and creamy vanilla oak. Medium finish. With more air, sweet plum flavours emerged.
I guessed a relatively young Rioja Gran Reserva.
This will need a few more years to integrate. (2394 views)
| ||Tasted by Piccolopaulo on 1/30/2014 & rated 93 points: Stunning wine. Decanted for 2 hours and then savored over 2-3 hours. Beautiful dark ruby colour. Bouquet full of some of the greatest purity of fruit I have ever tasted. Herbaceous notes of oregano and thyme as well. More subtle notes on the bouquet include cedar box and saddle leather, likely to emerge over time. Palate is loaded with 70% cocoa, blackberry, dark cherry and red currant bringing a medium acidity and tannins that are a little grippy as this wine is still young. Overall, this is one of the most balanced wines I have had in a long time. No wonder this producer just won the Wine of the Year for 2013 from WS. The 2005 impresses from start to finish. Can't wait to see what 5-7 years does to it in the cellar! (2270 views)|
| ||Tasted by jonanator on 1/4/2014 & rated 91 points: This was fabulous. Showing amazing grace, finesse, and elegance while maintaining good power and concentration on the palate. The nose was beautiful as well. Finish was medium+. IMO, this will be every bit as good as the 2001 and 2004. This was drinking beautifully, but is still so young in its development. (2221 views)|
| ||Tasted by henrygjeffreys on 12/13/2013: dark colour, purple|
n - initially very oaky, left overnight becomes tobacco & leather
t - rich, a little impenetrable at 1st but opens up over night
lots of supple tannins, long oaky finish, meaty and leather
lots here, really needs time & def. food
we ate it with slow roast shoulder of lamb and it went well
give it 5-10 years (1758 views)
| ||Tasted by Strikermax on 12/13/2013 & rated 94 points: Donkerpaars. In de geur specerijen, donker fruit, eikenhout, vanille, tabak. Goede concentratie, romig rijp fruit en een mooie frisheid. Stevige, geïntegreerde tannines, mediumlang tot lang aanhoudend. (2027 views)|
| ||Tasted by Umay Ceviker on 10/23/2013 & rated 93 points: 85% Tempranillo with 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo from over 20 year old vines all grown in Rioja Alta around Villalba and Haro. Aged for 36 months in 70% French and 30% American oak. |
Dark, inky ruby in colour. A mix of dark black fruit and damson leading the way to pronounced scents of leather, tobacco, tar and wet leaves. Dense and bold yet accessable and exuberant despite the high concentration. Rich tannins are far away from being aggressive. Long lasting and has a very good potential to age. (1884 views)
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C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Producer website
Tempranillo BlendTempranillo is the backbone of wines made in the well-known Spanish regions Rioja and Ribera del Duero, but is also grown as far afield as Mexico and Australia.
As a flavor profile, red fruits like strawberries and cherries can predominate - but with a rustic edge. Many wines made from Tempranillo will spend a few years in barrel and bottle before reaching the consumer. Many Tempranillo-based wines see a few years of oak - add that to a few years of bottle and the wine can give a subtle - and occasionaly not-so-subtle - leathery mouthfeel. The combination of the tart fruit and tannins make this wine very food friendly.
Spain Vinos de España - Wines of Spain (Instituto Español de Comercio Exterior) | Wikipedia
Spain is the third largest wine producing nation in the world, occupying the majority of the Iberian Peninsula with vast diversity in climate, culture, and of course, wine. From inky, dark reds of the [Priorat] to dry, white Finos from Andalusia, Spain can easily boast of elaborating a wide variety of notable styles. Within Spain there are currently 62 demarcated wine regions, of which a handful have gained international recognition: [Rioja], Priorat and [Ribera del Duero]. Yet these regions are only a small sample of the high quality wines Spain produces. Regions such as Cava, Penedes, Somontano, Galicia, Rueda and Jerez are only a few of the numerous regions worthy of exploration throughout Spain. Spain can also lay claim to having the most land under vine in the world, growing up to, by some accounts, 600 indigenous varietals of which Tempranillo is their most well known. Other popular varietals include [Garnacha], Bobal and Monastrell for reds and for whites; the infamous Palomino Fino grape which is used in the production of sherry wine, Pedro Ximenez in Montilla Morilles, Albarino used in the creation of the bright, effervescent wines of Galicia, and Verdejo in Rueda. - Source: - Catavino.net
Spain is not in the forefront of winemaking for its dessert wines, other than for its sweet wines from Sherry country including the highly revered Olorosos and Amontillados. But apart from Sherry Spain has a range of styles of dessert wines, ranging from the those made from the Pedro Ximenez grape primarily in Jerez and Montilla-Moriles) to luscious, red dessert wines made in the Mediterranean from the Garnacha (Grenache) grape. Some good Moscatels are made in Mallorca, Alicante and Navarre. The northwest corner of Spain, Galicia, with its bitter Atlantic climate, is even making dessert wines, called “Tostadillos” in the village of Ribadivia (similar to France’s “Vin de Paille”). The Canary Islands have made interesting dessert wines for centuries (they are mentioned by Shakespeare, for example) and in recent years the quality of winemaking has been improved and the Canary Islands wines are being better marketed now. The winemaking styles for “Vinos Dulces” are also diverse, from “Late Harvest” (Vendimia Tardía) to “Fortified Wines” (Fermentación Parcial). Based on in-spain.info.
La Rioja Consejo Regulador DOC Rioja - Control Board of the D.O.Ca. Rioja
Rioja Consejo Regulador DOC Rioja - Control Board of the D.O.Ca. Rioja
The wine region of La Rioja in Spain was first demarcated by the area's governing body, the Consejo Regulador, in 1926. The region extends for approximately 120 kilometres along both sides of the Ebro River and is, at its widest point, bounded by mountains on either side. In fact, the word 'Rioja' is a derivation of the two words 'Rio' (River) and 'Oja (the name of a tributary of the Ebro that runs right through La Rioja creating a series of microclimates and providing much needed water for the vines).
La Rioja has always been a vital part of Spain's history. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, and finally, medieval Crusaders have all played a part in the area's history. The Romans, however, made wine a part of their culture wherever they travelled, and La Rioja was no exception. Ancient sites of Roman wineries still exist in and around the area today.
After the Romans came the Moors, and winemaking all but ceased. It wasn't until after the famous 'El Cid' liberated Spain, and medieval Christianity brought trade via the Crusaders through the region, that it flourished again. The Benedictine monks of Cluny in Burgundy, known for their viticulture, helped to establish three monasteries in the area. The vines they planted were mostly white grapes. In the fourteenth century, English traders acquired a taste for a local Rioja wine, which was a blend of white and red wines called Blancos Pardillos. Over time, development of lighter reds came about satisfying eighteenth century English and French courts.
The real improvements to Rioja's viticulture began around 1780 when the need to prolong wine during transport brought about experimentation with different woods and preservatives. Studies were made of the techniques used by great chateaux in Bordeaux. With the outbreak of the Peninsular War, progress was halted until 1852, when the Bordelais came south to Rioja seeking vines because their vineyards had been blighted with oidium. French winemaking methods were eagerly taken up by great rivals the Marques de Murrieta and Marques de Riscal (who both claim to have been the first in Rioja to make wine in the Bordeaux fashion).
When phylloxera devastated Bordeaux in the 1870s and the French influence really took hold in Rioja, many of the region's finest bodegas started production on what we now consider as the great wines of Rioja. It’s important to remember that Bordeaux winemaking methods then were very different to those employed today in France, and involved long ageing in barrel, a factor that the Riojans took up enthusiastically. So enthusiastically in fact that to this day there are a number of Bodegas that still make their wine in a surprisingly similar fashion to that of the Bordelais in the later part of the 1800s and this also explains why oak ageing is such an important part of Riojan winemaking.
USE OF OAK
Pronounced vanilla flavours in the wines are a trademark of the region though some modern winemakers are experimenting with making wines less influenced by oak. Originally French oak was used but as the cost of the barrels increased many bodegas began to buy American oak planks and fashion them into barrels at Spanish cooperages in a style more closely resembling the French method. This included hand splitting the wood, rather than sawing, and allowing the planks time to dry and 'season' in the outdoors versus drying in the kiln. In recent times, more bodegas have begun using French oak and many will age wines in both American and French oak for blending purposes.
In the past, it was not uncommon for some bodegas to age their red wines for 15-20 years or even more before their release. One notable example of this is Marqués de Murrieta which released its 1942 vintage Gran Reserva in 1983 after 41 years of ageing. Today most bodegas have shifted their winemaking focus to wines that are ready to drink sooner with the top wines typically ageing for 4-8 years prior to release though some traditionalists still age longer. The typical bodega owns anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 oak barrels.
The use of oak in white wine has declined significantly in recent times when before the norm was traditionally 2-5 years in oak. This created slightly oxidised wines with flavours of caramel, coffee, and roasted nuts that did not appeal to a large market of consumers. Today the focus of white winemakers has been to enhance the vibrancy and fruit flavours of the wine.
Most Riojan Bodegas believe that the ageing of a wine should be the responsibility of the producer rather than that of the consumer, and this is why much Rioja is more mature than wines from other countries. Rioja red wines are classified into four categories. The first, simply labelled 'Rioja', or 'Sin Crianza' (meaning 'without ageing') is the youngest, spending less than a year in oak. A "Crianza" is wine aged for at least two years, at least one of which is in oak. 'Reserva' is aged for at least three years, of which at least one year is in oak. Finally, 'Gran Reserva' wines have been aged at least two years in oak and three years in bottle. Reserva and Gran Reserva wines are not necessarily produced each year. Also produced are wines in a semi-crianza style, those that have had a couple of months of oak influence but not enough to be called a full crianza. The designation of Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva might not always appear on the front label but may appear on a neck or back label in the form of a stamp designation known as Consejo.
Located on the western edge of the region, and at higher elevations than the other areas, the Rioja Alta is known for more fruity and concentrated wines which can have very smooth texture and mouth feel.
Despite sharing a similar climate as the Alta region, the Rioja Alavesa produces wines with a fuller body and higher acidity. Vineyards in the area have a low vine density with large spacing between rows. This is due to the relatively poor conditions of the soil with the vines needing more distance from each other and less competition for the nutrients in the surrounding soil.
Unlike the more continental climate of the Alta and Alavesa, the Rioja Baja is strongly influenced by a Mediterranean climate which makes this area the warmest and driest of the Rioja. In the summer months, drought can be a significant viticultural hazard, though since the late 1990s irrigation has been permitted. Temperatures in the summer typically reach 95°F. Twenty percent of the vineyards actually fall within the Navarra appellation but the wine produced from the grapes is still allowed to claim the Rioja designation. The predominant grape here is the Garnacha which prefers the hot conditions, unlike the more aromatic Tempranillo. Consequently Baja wines are very deeply coloured and can be highly alcoholic with some wines at 18% alcohol by volume. The wines typically do not have much acidity or aroma and are generally used as blending components with wines from other parts of
The Riojans are master blenders (as they have to be because there are relatively few single estates in the area, the norm being to blend from a wide variety of vineyards and wine areas). Consequently they are able to reduce vintage variation by careful blending and many of the best wines vary relatively little between vintages.
VITICULTURE & GRAPES
Rioja wines are normally a blend of various grape varieties, and can be either red (tinto), white (blanco) or rosé (rosado). Rioja has a total of 57,000 hectares cultivated, yielding 250 million litres of wine annually, of which 85% is red. The harvest time for most Rioja vineyards is September-October with the northern Rioja Alta having the latest harvest in late October. The soil here is clay-based with a high concentration of chalk and iron (which provides the redness in the soil that may be responsible for the region's name, Rioja, meaning red). There is also significant concentration of limestone, sandstone and alluvial silt.
Among the Tintos, the best-known and most widely-used variety is Tempranillo. Other grapes used include Garnacha Tinta, Graciano, and Mazuelo. A typical blend will consist of approximately 60% Tempranillo and up to 20% Garnacha, with much smaller proportions of Mazuelo and Graciano. Each grape adds a unique component to the wine with Tempranillo contributing the main flavours and ageing potential to the wine; Garnacha adding body and alcohol; Mazuelo adding seasoning flavours and Graciano adding additional aromas.
With Rioja Blanco, Viura is the prominent grape (also known as Macabeo) and is sometimes blended with some Malvesia and Garnacha Blanca. In the white wines the Viura contributes mild fruitness, acidity and some aroma to the blend with Garnacha Blanca adding body and Malvasia adding aroma. Rosados are mostly derived from Garnacha grapes. The 'international varieties' of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have gained some attention and use through experimental plantings by some bodegas but their use has created wines distinctly different from the typical Rioja.
Some of the most sought after grapes come from the limestone/sandstone based 'old vine' vineyards in the Alavesa and Alta regions. These 40 year old plus vines are prized due to their low yields and more concentrated flavours. A unique DO regulation stipulates that the cost of the grapes used to make Rioja must exceed by at least 200% the national average of wine grapes used in all Spanish wines.
Rioja (Red) Year %
2004 Superb vintage, classic wines Drink or Hold 94
2003 Hot, dry year, long-ageing wines Drink or Hold 91
2002 Smallest vintage in 10 years. Variable quality.
Keep to top names Drink or Hold 87
2001 Excellent year for long ageing Reservas
and Gran Reservas Drink or Hold 94
2000 A generally good vintage with fine Reservas Drink or Hold 89
1999 Smaller vintage of good quality Drink or Hold 88
1998 Good vintage Drink or Hold 97
1997 Unexciting so far, but quaffable Drink or Hold 84
1996 Good year, plenty of ageing potential Drink or Hold 89
1995 Very good vintage, Reservas now showing excellent fruit Drink or Hold 92
1994 Outstanding, some great long-ageing wines Drink or Hold 94
1993 Lesser wines, apart from best-known names Drink 77
1992 Rather light vintage Drink 80
1991 Still improving, average quality Drink or Hold 85
1990 Fairly ordinary but quaffable Drink 84
1989 Good, firm structure Drink 88
Rioja Reserva & Gran Reserva – Vintages of the Eighties Year %
1989 Goodish vintage, well balanced Drink 88
1988 Fairly good vintage, well balanced wines Drink 88
1987 Very attractive vintage, now at peak Drink 90
1986 Average year, now drinking well Drink 87
1985 Average year, now drinking well Drink 87
1984 Disappointing, with problem weather Avoid 80
1983 Don't keep it any longer Drink 86
1982 Now past its best Drink 83
1981 Superb wines, finest will keep longer Drink 90
1980 Average vintage, don't keep any longer Drink 86