Full bottle, crumbly cork, decanted and drunk over a couple of hours. So much better than the Sampling taste of this earlier in the week; this is a far better bottle. Slightly smokey, dusty nose with a touch of meat. Really quite full and round in the mouth. A touch of orange peel coming through on the nose and the acidity, initially less than the Conde pair, develops more too. Lovely old Rioja. No mention of hierachy here - neck says Crianza but label same style as the GR ones. ****
Sampler pour. Mid garnet. Quite an oxidised nose, some sweet fruit and development. Good acidity on the attack. A bit of mocha complexity coming through on the nose. Quite light. Reasonable length. lacks mid-palate complexity. Decent enough but a tad faded. Not the greatest of examples I suspect. ***
The newish neck label over the capsule, which carried the bottle number, clearly specified "Vina Crianza." Yet the capsule itself was not original, and beneath were vestiges of a former hardened wax seal. The cork, which was not vintage branded, looked antique enough and pushed right down into the bottle at the first pressure of the corkscrew. All very strange. Inside the bottle, a more full-bodied wine than one expects from a Lopez crianza, not that 1961 is a typical vintage. The first aroma is of fishmarket, but this blows off to reveal just a bit of dark, brooding fruit. Good weight on the palate but no bloom. A well-stored specimen with a sounder cork would likely taste much fresher. Imported by Vieux Vins, so must have come from Rare Wine Co., though I can't remember for sure. Among the questions I forgot to ask at the winery is why so many bottles seem reconditioned or otherwise altered. Certainly nobody would bother faking a crianza, so what's up?
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