Dusky deep red with a little brick at the rim. Smokey vanilla on the nose with some finely etched blue and black berry fruits. One the palate there, there is the smokey vanilla oak as well as these restrained black/blue fruit flavors that are complicated by leather, orange liquor and rich gamey notes. This wine seems distinctly rioja. It has sweet restrained ripe fruit married to animal (leather, game, earth) tones. This is some great stuff. What a fantastic value. Clearly improving when I look back to my first note. Look forward to following this down the road. I am going to be buying more for the cellar.
The first half of this bottle was decanted for an hour and terrific with dinner at Evvia in the company of a goat stew with orzo and some sort of feta-like greek cheese, with the 2nd half strong but not as good now that we are finishing it at home. The nose was fruitier and deeper pitched than expected with forest berries and plum along with peanut shells, blood-orange perfume, and lead, and was followed by a well-balanced palate of red berries and leather. Modest tannic grip extend the flavors without cinching up much in the mouth. The finish has a more simple acidic element that does prefer food. This should last many more years and was well worth $35. I'm a LdH fan. Unfortunately Tempranillo has something that triggers a very mild headache no matter how much or little of it I drink, otherwise I'd build up a bigger cache of these wines in the cellar. A superb showing tonight reminds me why I bother with Rioja at all.
Opened immediately after a '98 proved corked. This bottle was everything I expect from LdH: a beautiful nose featuring bright fruit but with the added complexity of the elevage; a dancer's grace on the tongue; a strong but lean palate with a core of red fruit.
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(Lopez de Heredia Bosconia Rioja Reserva) A wine which seems to suggest considerable maturity on inspection, as this wine's deep red core has a more dusty, mahogany, brick red rim. Nevertheless, I have found many examples of Rioja which, despite being seemingly mature on inspection are in fact deceptively youthful, both aromatically and on the palate (I and been proved correct by watching these wines slowly evolve as I drink them over a decade or longer) and I suspect this is one such wine. Aromatically it is impressive, with elements of smoke, sweet vanilla from the oak, but also blackberry and even a touch of blueberry although not the super-ripe sweetness such a descriptor might suggest, and then later leathery notes, orange liqueur, roasted game meats and black pepper. The palate has the rich and slightly oily texture, oak influenced I am sure, of a somewhat too-young Rioja Reserva. It is elegant despite this style, intensely flavoured as the aromatic nose suggested, soft and leathery and polished, although without doubt there is substance and tannic grip behind these softer characteristics. The finish is long, and tinged with chalky fruit. A wine of remarkable potential; if you have any I would leave well alone at present, although I am sure those that seem to enjoy the oaky, textured intensity of young Rioja would get a lot out of this right now.
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