Grandes de La Rioja

POSTED ON 04/04/2011

Grandes de La Rioja started life in the year 2000 from an idea developed by journalist Andrés Proensa, editor of PlanetAVino magazine and the Guía Proensa and it’s supported by La Rioja Regional Government.

The organisers chose the wines to be tasted based on the best ratings by the five most important wine guides published in Spain (Anuario de Vinos, Peñín, La Guía, Gourmets, and Proensa). The selection was be rounded off with a series of wines highlighted in previous editions of Grandes de La Rioja, as well as some noteworthy new wines.

Grandes de La Rioja is organised by the La Rioja Regional Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development Agency, and directed and coordinated by VadeVino Editorial.

Here are my highlights of the tasting, all of which were tasted blind. They are somewhat belated as the tasting was in the autumn, but there was no rush to publish as many of the wines weren't available in the UK then (and some still aren't), and I thought it would make more sense to link them to my piece on Rioja in the Independent on Saturday.

If you notice gaps like Allende and Artadi, it's because the Grandes covers most but not all of Rioja because it's administrative set-up excludes a handful of wine areas. A shame. Maybe they can get it together next time to cover the whole of Rioja. Now that really would be grand.

Rioja from the TrainRioja from the Train

White Rioja

2009 Bodegas Vivanco

Viura, malvasia. Clean and fresh with a slightly grapefruity almost sauvignon-like aromatic quality, pleasantly juicy, grapefruity dry white with attractive fresh zesty quality, finishing nicely rangy and dry. 87

2009 Viños de Benjamin Romeo.

Viura, garnacha blanca and malvasia. Clean and fresh, traditional-style white Rioja with light smoky oak and Cornish clotted cream on the nose, palate of clotted cream and smoky oak, only the wood really giving it much character, but a decent food wine. 86

2007 Bodegas Leza Garcia.

Viura. Yellow gold, slight sherried whiff with smoky oak and notes of honey, very traditional old-style wooded white Rioja, with good acidity and slight maderisation, finishing dry; idiosyncratic and quite interesting, but to aesthetes, not punters, and with the right sort of food. 87

2005 Capellania, Bodegas Marques de Murrieta.

Viura. Yellow gold, slight sherried whiff, farm butter and smoky oak, deriving its complexity from secondary characteristics, good rich buttery fruit quality, good acidity and underlying honeyed notes with dry tangy finish; a wine of real personality; very well done. 90

1992 R Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia.

Viura and malvasia. Pale yellow gold, slight sherried whiff but very fresh for its age, notes of citrus peel on the nose, light underlying smoky oak, rolling back the years with its high acidity bringing life and freshness; good tangy finish with a slight bitter twist. 92


Rosado Rioja

2009 Cesar del Rio

Garnacha. Pale salmon pink, pleasant fresh aromatic quality, a tad mute, fresh spritz on the tongue, light, slightly tart redcurrant fruit flavour, with nicely crisp, dry finish, crisp, quite elegant food wine rosado. 85

2009 Beronia Rosado Joven.

Tempranillo. Bright salmony pink hue, attractive colour, clean, fresh aromatic quality, pale juicy strawberryish flavour, pleasantly fresh and elegantly dry on the finish, a decent food rosado. 87

2009 Bodegas Ilurce Rosado Joven.

Garnacha. Bright pink hue, a tad shy, pleasantly berryish aromas, clean, fresh, quite juicy strawberry and cherry fruit with nice dry finish to it; well-made approachably refreshing, popular style. 88+

2009 Muga Rosado Joven.

Garnacha, viura and tempranillo. Very pale salmon pink, a tad closed but fresh, clean, promising, nose emerges as the wine warms up, fresh , clean palate, nicely textured tartish cranberry and redcurrant fruit, good clean, elegantly dry finish, refreshing, classic, serious style, very much a food rosado. 88

Bodegas Tobia Rosado Fermentado en barrica.

Tempranillo, granciano and others. Strawberry cup pinky red, touch of smoky oak on the nose, pleasant cherry and damson fruit quality, clean, fresh and dry; not quite sure what the oak brings here except a grip on the finish that needs food, but well-made in its modern style. 87

Viña Hermosa Abando Rosado Fermentado en barrica.

Tempranillo. Smoky oak on the nose, less successful on the nose here than the previous rosado, oak bringing smokiness and tannic grip to the party; but well-made, clean and dry, nice juicy red fruits in a more traditional style, making it a good food rosado. 86

2000 Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia Rosado Gran Reserva.

Tempranillo, garnacha and viura. Golden bronze colour, slight sherryish maderised whiff to it, very traditional style, quite nice smoky bacon oak, still fresh, nicely textured and quite rich, good dry finish. 89

Inside TondoniaInside Tondonia

Red Rioja

2008 Bodegas Obalo Altino Rioja Tinto.

100% tempranillo. Medium ruby hue, modern coffee bean oak aromas, slightly reduced, attractive rich dark fruits on the palate, youthful and vigorous with quite a lot of chocolate and coffee bean oak, good concentration and freshness and firm backbone for ageing. 89+

2007 Viña Herminia Rioja Tinto Seleccion Especial.

60% garnarcha, 40% tempranillo. Medium ruby, quite pleasant fresh cherry and rhubarb aromas, pleasantly succulent juicy cherrish, rhubarby fruit with nicely suffused spicy oak and herb and juicy fresh acidity, a well put together red with good overall balance, making it a good approachably fruit style. 88

2007 Dinastia Vivanco Rioja Tinto, Colección Vivanco.

100% Garnacha. Deep colour, sweet mulberry and blackcurrant fruit nose, floral violtey undertones, quite rich cassisy fruit nicely rounded out by vanillin oak, good ripe succulent tannins, very juicy and almost sexy, well-made modern style with lots of fruit, and good overall balance. 89

2007 Palacios Remondo Tinto con Crianza, Propiedad Viñas Tradicionales.

60% garnacha, 40% tempranillo. Medium ruby, pleasant fresh cherryish and strawberry fruit, modern clean, fresh ripe strawberryish fruit quality, nicely juicy, zingy and gluggy, attractively approachable fruit with no excessive extraction or oak. 88+

Alvaro PalaciosAlvaro Palacios

2007 Tobelos Tinto, Rioja Tinto, Leukade.

100% tempranillo. Nice deep ruby colour and nose, aromatic, good dense sweet mulbery and black cherry fruits flavours here, subtle oak spice, nicely supple and succulently juicy tannins with fresh acidity; balance if still vigorously youthful and needing a couple of years of ageing, but good drinking. 89+

2007 Bodegas Roda, Rioja Tinto, Cirsión.

100% tempranillo. Deep colour, slightly funky, smoky-woody mocha oak nose, quite good rich dark fruits concentration but very chunky tannins, firm extraction and slightly bitter finish; designery modern style with lots of oak you have to chew your way through. Let's hope it will come round in time. 88

2007 Marques de Caceres, Rioja Crianza.

Tempranillo, garnacha and graciano. Youthful ruby, nice fresh, mulberry and cherry nose, pleasantly gluggy, refreshingly juicy red fruits flavours, nice restrained touch of oak bringing textured roundness to the incisive fresh acidity and nice juicy fruit quality. Very much does what it says on the tin. 88

2007 Obalo Rioja Crianza.

Tempranillo. An ultra-modern style of Rioja that's deep in colour with quite a lot of stylish meaty, sausagey oak on the nose and dark fruits quality, good fruit concentration, albeit slightly oak dominant at this stage, but nicely concentrated black fruits suffused by spicy oak; firm finish and so needs time. 89+

2007 Cantos de Valpiedra , Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo. Red fruity with green pepper undertones, almost cabernet franc like pepperiness, but it's attractively lively fresh and full of life, with juicy supple tannins and nicely integrated oak and tannins, a good, youthfully vibrant modern Rioja style that should age well for three to five years. 89+

2006 Tobelos Rioja Crianza.

Tempranillo. Youthful ruby for its age, quite attractively ripe, sweet cherry fruit that's fresh and vivid, with nice lightly spicy sweet vanillin oak underlay, nice richness and slightly chunky tannins just starting to soften down into very drinkable middle age. 88

2006 LD de Leza Garcia, Alto Expresion, Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo. Good youthful colour, nice freshness of aroma, red fruits, mulberry and strawberry, clean, well-made, juicy succulence with restrained background vanillin oak and chocolatey richness, sinewy tannins and acidity and very nice balance; a successful, classic, balanced, young Rioja that will benefit from a year or two's ageing. 91

2006 Livius, Bodegas Alvar, Vino de Autor, Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo. Dense youthful colour, quite rich cassisy nose and fruit with chocolatey richness and lovely sweetly opulent dark cassis fruit flavours in a framework of succulently juicy tannins and good fresh acidity, yet with firm backbone behind it making it very much a food wine, could also do with a year or two's ageing. A very crowd-pleasing opulent style. 90

2006 Ortubia, Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo. Deep in colour, attractively traditional style with plenty of smoky (American?) oak on the nose, good fresh, vivid blackberry fruit flavours and chocolatey richness with succulently supple tannins and firm backbone bringing nice balance to the wine. 89

2006 Cumbre de Montecillo, Bodegas Montecillo, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo and graciano. Medium ruby, nice nose, quite attractive red fruits richness, nice fresh fruit character, traditional style, quite chunky and chewy tannins, big-boned and slightly drying on the finish. 88

2006 Digma, Bodegas Castillo de Sajazarra, Vino de Ator, Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo. Deep dense ruby hue, smoky paprika oak on the nose, rather good fresh dark red fruits quality suffused with vanillin oak, nice succulently textured tannins and juicy fresh acidity, vigorous and muscular overall attractively balanced, well made. 90

2006 San Vicente, Senorio de San Vicente, Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo. Dense colour, aromatic, intense, lovely rich sweetly opulent dark fruits, slightly chocolatey, good intense richly concentrated fruit purity with firm tannic backbone and fine fresh acidity, still very youthful and muscular but the tannins are svelte, the balance excellent, the flavour rich and ripe and the wine destined to mature into something special and something very enjoyable. 93

San VicenteSan Vicente

2006 Ramon Bilbao Mirto, Bodegas Ramon Bilbao, Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo. Dense colour, fie nose with smoky chorizo and paprika undertones, liquoricey spice, richly concentrated, firm black fruit flavours, chocolatey undertones, well-made, albeit a tad four square towards the end with quite chunky dry finish. 89

2006 Lan Edición Limitada, Bodegas Lan, Rioja Tinto.

Deep colour, green peppery cabernet franc-like aromas, as if very much a cooler climate style; some cabernet in there; nice richly concentrated green pepper-tinged fruit quality, with nice freshness and very likeable modern, slightly different style; not Rioja as we know it perhaps but we can still enjoy this wine. 89

2006 Amancio, Bodegas Viñedos Sierra Cantabria, Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo. Dense colour, quite spicy aromatic quality, nicely oaked, good rich black fruits palate, nicely concentrated fruit, with youthfully muscular tannins and good acidity, well-crafted if a tad extracted and chunky on the finish. 88+

2005 Arzobispo Dego de Tejada, Rioja Tinto Vino de Autor, Bodega Nestares Eguizabal.

Medium ruby, attractive savoury spicy oak aromas, nice raspberry and mulberry red fruits richness, soft and succulent fruit suffused by smoky oak; good fruit concentration and balance, a good classic style, still youthful with some firm backbone and freshness, but beginning to soften nicely into middle age in traditional style. 88++

2005 Baron d’Anglade, Bodegas Franco Españolas, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo, mazuelo and graciano. Medium ruby, good savoury oaky aromas with a red fruit aspect to them; supple, juicy cherryish fruit underscored by nice smoky vanillin oak and slight gamey undertones in classic, and classy, Rioja style, medium to full-bodied very nicely balanced fresh fruit with structure for ageing, though can start to be enjoyed now. 90

2005 Campeador, Bodegas Martinez Lacuesta, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo / garnacha. Dusty coconut and charry whisky oak veneer to this traditional style Rioja, the fruit is pleasantly cherryish and sweet but rather smoky oak dominated, nicely textured and ripe, finishing with pleasantly fresh acidity and gluggy tannins, but just rather over-smoky. 87+

2005 Darien, Bodegas Darien, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo, graciano and mazuelo. Good youthful ruby hue, youthful red fruits fragrance, attractively juicy mulberry fruit quality, nice purity and freshness with delicately spiced oak in the background; emphasising the fruit qualities and succulence of texture; still youthful but just about ready now, though will continue to age nicely for a few years yet. 89+

2005 Azpilicueta, Bodegas Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo, graciano and mazuelo Good medium ruby hue, well-made wine with nice freshness and fragrance underscored by delicate oak spicing, good mulberry an cherry red fruit richness, with nice supple textured fruit though firm backbone of tannin and acidity giving this red structure; a well-made modern style with very appealing fruit and good overall balance. 89+

2005 Bodegas David Moreno, Selección de la Familia, Rioja Crianza.

Tempranillo and garnacha. Medium ruby, quite spicy fragrance, sweetly spicy, incensy palate, juicy red fruits quality, well-made, without huge depth, nicely juicy fresh red fruits quality underscored by light spiciness and overall nice freshness and drinkability, though will age reasonable well. 89

2005 Quatro Pagos, Bodegas Maetierra Dominum, Vino de Autor.

Tempranillo, graciano and garnacha. Good youthful ruby hue, good fresh, intense spicy fragrance, concentrated dark cherry and blackberry fruits richness and intensity, very succulently textured red with good firm backbone and freshness, only just starting to drink now, needing four or five years to really get into its stride. 92

2005 Castillo di Mendoza, Bodegas Castillo di Mendoza. Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo. Deep colour, quite dark and brooding, still elemental, youthful, similarly youthful vigorous fruit quality, quite chunky and firm tannins, good acidity and nicely integrated spicy oak, a big wine, powerful, bit of a monster of extraction, may not quite come round, so perhaps drink now, with roast wolf. 88?

2005 Bodegas Valsacro, Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo, graciano, mazuelo and garnacha. Good colour, nice touch of smoky bacon savoury oak on the nose, good ripe mulberry fruit richness, attractively concentrated and textured with really nice purity and fresh fruit quality; nice damsony fruit, tad dry on the finish. 88

2005 Bodegas y Viñedos Gomez Crusado, Honorable, Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo. Good rich colour, nice smoky-savoury oak, lots of dark cherry and damson fruit concentration and richness in a powerful framework, underscored by spicy oak, with firm structure of tannin and acidity, still vigorous and youthful, needs time but should be good, may be excellent. 90

2005 Tanka, Bodegas Florentino Martinez, Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo. Deep colour, smoky liquorice spice oak on the nose, powerful sweetly ripe dark berry fruits concentration underscored by liquoricey / tobaccoey spice, very good intense dark fruits concentration and richness, with firm backbone of tannin and fresh acidity; overall well-balance, youthful, rich and though still muscular, should soften down in time into a very good wine. Impressive. 93+

2005 Alma de Tobia, Bodegas Tobia, Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo and garnacha. Deepish colour, impresseive nose, dense, brooding, lots of sweetly ripe, opulently concentrated fruit, dark fruits spectrum, spicy oak, intense, richly concentrated and powerful, still quite closed and tightly coiled; but has the fruit and structure to turn into a very good wine. 92

2005 Egomei Alma, Finca Egomei, Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo and graciano. Deep colour, smoky, liquorice spice oak, very sweetly ripe, rich and concentrated fruit, quite extracted and hefty, almost super-concentrated in its richness and power; fruit bomb; lots of dark fruits and bittersweet chocolate; good tannins and fresh acidity, well-balance for such a youthfully powerful, muscular red, nowhere near ready now, but one for the future, if the fruit isn’t overwhelmed by the power. 89?

2005 Hacienda Pradolagar, Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Rioja Reserva.

Deep colour intriguing nose, notes of mulberry and loganberry, good concentration and supple tannins, nice fresh berry tart acidity and juiciness, very well made with supple suffusion of lightly applied oak; extremely good wine with great balance and freshness of dark fruits and damsony acidity. 90+

2005 Cerrado di Castillo, Castillo de Cuzcurrita, Vino de Finca.

Tempranillo. Deep colour, very sweet almost jammy aromas, black fruits richness and concentration and power here, good fruit richness and cassis concentration, intense, well-made, nicely integrated oak; fine fresh acidity, firm tannic backbone, classic, yet New Worldy. 90

2005 Finca Valpiedra, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo, cabernet and graciano. Deep colour, cassis and mulberry fruit nose, very good juicy ripe cassis and mulberry fruit concentration and freshness, lovely fruit quality, very pure and fresh, real succulence of texture and intensity of mulberry and cassis fruits flavour, with polished tannins, subtle oak spice and lovely freshness. Gorgeously seductive fruit quality. 94

2005 Dalmau, Marques de Murrieta, Rioja Reserva.

Deep colour, savoury smoky tobaccoey nose, quite hefty rich, tobacco and vanilla oak, black fruits character, concentrated fruits if quite extracted, powerful and black fruity; muscular tannins, bit of a monster but given time, three to four years, should start to come round. 90+

2005 Aro, Bodegas Muga, Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo and graciano. Deep colour, fine, smoky bacon and cola-spice aromas, richly concentrated, intense fruit with strong paprika and smoky bacon savoury quality in the fruit, good fresh acidity, juicy succulent and supple tannins. Lovely savoury fruit quality, intense, need a lot of time with its chunky tannins, but great wine. 94+

2005 Beronia Tinto Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo, mazuelo and graciano. Good youthful ruby, classy, intense and classic Rioja bouquet, lots going on there; lovely opulent, rich red fruits concentration with flavours of strawberry and cherry to the fore, finely crafted supple tannins and a stylish veneer of cedar and vanillin oak, beautifully balanced though still youthful finishing lively and vibrant, plenty of time, a good 10 years, ahead of it. 93

2005 Ramon Bilbao Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo, mazuelo and garnacha. Youthful ruby, aromatic, quite attractive red fruits strawberry jam-like flavours with good concentration and a veneer of smoky vanillin oak, juicy supple tannins, well-made vivid style combing traditional and modern virtues. 90

2005 Sierra Cantabria, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo. Quite evolved for a 2005, quite attractive, some sweet red fruits fruit, quite charming if a tad hollow but showing quite attractive personality and drinkability, finishing a little on the dry side. 87

2004 Martinez Lacuesta, Rioja Gran Reserva.

Tempranillo, graciano and mazuelo. Deepish colour, quite evolved, slightly leathery nose initially, typical, traditional style, quite good fruit concentration and fruit richness, chocolatey, nicely integrated slightly evolved leathery oak spice, still youthful, powerful alcohol, firm dry tannins. 88

2004 Onomastica, Bodegas Carlos Serres, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo, mazuelo and graciano. Good dense colour, youthful, nice fresh intense bouquet, displaying restrained red fruits and oak spice, lovely pure and sweet cherry and strawberry fruit concentration and richness, framed by spicy vanillin oak, still vigorous, intense and youthful, with lovely voluptuous succulence and balance; just starting to drink well now, but with plenty of time to go. 94

2004 Bodegas Taron, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo and mazuelo. Good vivid ruby shading to garnet, youthful bouquet combining dark red fruits and light spicy oak, quite good ripe sweet strawberry fruit concentration and richness, still vigorous and firm, needing time to soften the chunky, dry tannins, but quite good overall. 88

2004 Gran Albina, Bodegas Riojanas, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo, mazuelo and graciano. Ruby shading to garnet, quite leathery and spicy bouquet, quite traditional Rioja style, nice sweetly ripe, leathery fruit quality, with good dark fruits and spicy oak succulence, finishing with a bite of tannin and acidity. Good in a traditional style. 88

2004 Pagos de la Sonsierra, Bodegas Sonsierra, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo. Dense youthful colour, good depth of fruit on the nose, nice incense and coal spice suffused dark fruits quality with restrained spicy oak framing good concentrated, rich and vigorously muscular fruit; really nice spicy fruit quality and freshness here, still youthful with 5 – 7 years ageing still ahead of it. 90

2004 Bodegas Ontañon, Rioja Reserva.

Good youthful ruby hue, youthful bouquet of red fruits and light oak spice, seductively ripe, opulent flavours of black cherry and strawberry, vigorous fruit quality with firm but supple backbone of tannins and nice freshness and elegant balance, needing three to five years. Very well done. 92

2004 Conde de Hervias, Manso de Zuniga, Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo and graciano. Good dense youthful ruby, good depth and intensity on the nose, inviting and intriguing, lovely opulent concentrated black fruits flavours, tinged with bittersweet chocolate notes, firm and muscular and yet fine tannins and freshness, a very good modern wine in a powerful framework of oak, tannin and acidity, but the component parts gell and the wine, while still young, can only get better in the next five to 10 years. 92

2004 Valenciso, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo. Good colour, slight fungal undertones, pleasant sweet red fruits, nice rounding touch of oak, quite juicy and approachable, with relatively supple tannins and freshness; quite well-balanced overall, a tad chunky but with nice savoury acidity, even if not one to set the pulse racing. 88

2004 Tinto de Autor, Bodegas Beronia, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo, mazuelo and graciano. Good dense colour, lovely nose of cassis and polished smoky oak, good opulent, concentrated cassisy fruit, almost cabernet-like, very supple and succulently juicy tannins, but nicely balancing acidity, a real crowd-pleaser with its voluptuous flesh on the tannic bones. 93+

2004 Finca La Emperatriz, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo, graciano, garnacha and viura. Good colour, nice fresh fragrant bouquet, good youthful vigorous dark red berry fruit and chocolatey quality, quite firm, chunk tannins in big-boned framework, muscular and needing time, good fruit concentration and sweetness, well-made, and could do with a year or two to soften down those slightly chunky, dry tannins. 89

2004 Real de Asua, CVNE, Rioja Tinto.

Tempranillo. Dense youthful ruby hue, lovely intense fresh bouquet of cola spice, incense and red fruits, ditto on the palate which is richly concentrated and delightfully fresh in mulberry and strawberry fruit, framed by firm but fine tannins and gently incisive acidity; everything in its place, a modern classic in style with lovely vigorous yet seductively fruit and finesse and a good 10 years life ahead of it, if not longer. 95


2004 Gaudium, Marques de Caceres, Rioja Reserva.

Youthful ruby, quite attractive bouquet, quite dense rich red fruits, nice freshness , well-made, rather dense and extracted tannins, international style, so still needs time to soften down, but good reserva 2004 style, if a tad on the hard side at the moment. 89

2002 Altos de Corral, Bodegas Corral, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo. Good youthful colour for 2002, fresh, lightly smoky nose with red fruit overlay, good opulent fruit concentration, with light smoky veneer, supple tannins and nice freshness of red fruits flavours; good overall balance. 90

2001 Beronia, Rioja Gran Reserva.

Quite nice classic leathery aromas, some evolved fruit sweetness with leather and gamey undertones, quite juicy sweet tannins and fresh acidity in typical garn reserva aged style; good classic aged gran reserva style with nice fruit quality and still firm backbone of tannins and acidity. 89

2001 Prado Enea, Rioja Gran Reserva.

Youthful colour and nose, nice freshness with hints of leather and smoky oak, good rich, vigorous, youthful fruit quality and concentration; lovely elegant sweetly ripe fruit quality, quite chunky tannins and firm backbone; still relatively youthful; still young with years of life ahead of it. 92

2001 Castillo Ygay, Marques de Murrieta, Rioja Gran Reserva.

Aged, leather and balsam on the nose, sweetly ripe inside of potato sacks earthiness and dry tannins with traditional fruit quality, nice richness and balsamic concentration of fruit. 91

2001 Clos Paternina, Federico Paternina, Rioja Reserva.

Garnet with evolution, some freshness still on the nose, pleasant soft fruit richness that's still quite fresh and lively, with supple, juicy tannins, nice freshness and overall balance; quite good traditional style with attractive, aged mulberry fruitiness and balance. 89

2001 Viña Tondonia, R Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia, Rioja Reserva.

Tempranillo, garnacha, graciano and mazuelo. Good youthful ruby garnet, good complex nose with hint of herby aniseed and leathery undertones, evolved but still youthful with attractive underlying cherry richness, succulence and lively acidity, all nicely balancing this mature but very drinkable Rioja. 91

1997 La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904.

Tempranillo and graciano. Garnet with age, this has a classic, intense boot leather, well-hung game, toffee and autumn bonfire smoky bouquet, very complex; lovely sweetly concentrated malted balsamic fruit on the palate with terrific lively, fresh acidity bringing balance; very much a food wine. 93

1995 La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 890.

Pure garnet, complex bouquet of leather and game, very fine classic intense sweetly gamey red fruits quality, lovely complex evolved fruit quality, silky smooth texture and very fresh acidity; classic aged Rioja that veers towards red burgundy in its fragrance and delicacy of fruit. 95

La Rioja AltaLa Rioja Alta

Our sponsor