With over one hundred years of experience you are not going to find a better place to start tasting traditional Rioja. They started in the highly regarded and high altitude Rioja Alavesa, then slowly acquired vineyards across the Alta (also high altitude) and lower, hotter Baja region. They make remarkable wines that can age extremely well at the top end. Just lovely.
1982 was my birth year so buy this to try was a given. Happily it turned out to be great drinking and great value. Red fruits, orange peel, minerally and gamey. It has that lovely Tempranillo silk still with dry red berry fruits, tea leaf and dry tannins. I think it is a wonderful wine that shows the best of aged Rioja. Drink it over the next few years.
A large and varied region and Spain’s quality flagship. Sub-regions Alta and Alavesa are the high altitude cooler parts that show elegant and almost Burgundian Tempranillo wines. Baja is the low hot lands sub region where Garnacha (Grenache) becomes more important. Producer is the most important determiner of quality as producers range from traditional savoury wines to modern silky, pure wines. The whites can be neutral and simple through to pretty and silky affairs.
Top quality grape grown all over the Peninsula (with many pseudonyms). It can be used for Rosado or Joven (released after 6 months) all the way up to Gran Reserva (60 months in the winery). It ages very well and top examples are said to compare to Burgundy. Cherry and cola are typical descriptors, it has moderate to low acid, moderate tannin and the naturally high pH allows for a silky mouthfeel that is not seen in other red wines.
Red wines aged for a minimum of 60 months, to include at least 18 months in oak. White and rosé wines aged for 48 months, to include 6 months on wood.