The first of four bottles from a recent library release. Decanted for 2 hours leaving a moderate amount of granular sediment. This was my first experience with the wines of Ontanon and I find it difficult to fathom that this wine is 18 years old. The color was a deep ruby with no edge browning at all. On first pour, it was still reticent on the nose with suggestions of blackberry, plum, elusive undertones of wood, fall leaves, new leather, and baking spices. It had a vey solid mouth feel with a palate impression in keeping with the aromas. The balance was excellent with a very firm acidic backbone and smooth tannins. It seems that this has potential for further evolution as it continued to unfold in small increments over the next hour. However it did not show that exotic quality that I look for in a classic mature Rioja Reserva. Nonetheless, it was very enjoyable with our dinner and the cheeses that we finished with. I also purchased the 1991 Reserva and the 2001 Gran Reserva at the same time so I will give them a try to get a better sense of the Ontanon house style.
2-3 hours of air due to the blast of American oak on opening. Dark violet with a garnet rim. The nose shows some dill, tobacco and red fruit. Full bodied, the fruit is snappy with some bright currants and darker cherries. This is silky soft in the mouth and is in an excellent drinking window right now. This straddles the line between classic and modern Rioja, but is a really nice bottle.