Review: 1994 Rioja (Grand Reserva) by Pedro Urbina, Spain

Tonight’s occasion: 1994 Rioja (Grand Reserva) by Pedro Urbina, Spain.

Incredibly sharp, vibrant nose for any vintage, let alone one this old. Out of the bottle, firm crisp berries wrapped in marshmallow caramel. Tertiary notes of damp driftwood gradually evolve into a wet loamy sandy leather. Swirl vigorously to unleash a burst of spice heat which quickly gives way to sweet cherries. WOW!

Body is… well… my friends this is how Tempranillo was truly meant to be enjoyed. A touch of that signature acidity greets the palate along with nicely restrained tannins that have had 26 years to perfectly integrate. A firm, crisp, bold, tannic structure emerges midway and is capped with a thin veneer of black currants, faint caramel, blackberry and tart black plum. A slate-like essence emerges towards the back as crisp tannic structure begins to dissolve into a fine grained dust. As it opens up, this mineral slate moves forward all the way to the nose. This marks the transition to finish. It exits rather unceremoniously however leaving the palate completely dry and tingling with spice.

This is an example of a real hidden gem. A well made, robust wine, appropriately aged and truly representative of Rioja. Incredible!

Bien hecho Amigos!

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Wine Review: 2007 Rioja by López de Heredia Viña Tondonia

Tonight’s occasion: 2007 Rioja by López de Heredia Viña Tondonia, Spain.

Bold warm nose with plum, blackberry and a hint of caramel on the back. Swirl vigorously to unlock a sandy mineral leather.

Body is noticeably acidic. It is mostly Tempranillo after all. A very prominent black currant underlayment permeates the experience as moderate tannins make an appearance midway. Mineral terroir occupies a tertiary layer along with hints of caramel and spice. A tart plum dominates the finish capped by a dry, spicy tannic grip.

This is a really good wine. A welcomed diversion from California wines. Like most Spanish wine it is big, bold, dry, masculine and makes no apologies. It is honestly just now approachable at 13 years of age and I shudder to imagine what it was like at 5. It shows good structure and delineated complexity. It should serve as a good reference point for wines of this style and region. Bien hecho amigos! 😁🍷

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Wine Review: 2017 Tajinaste Tradicional (Valle de la Orotava) by Bodega Tajinaste

Tonight’s occasion: 2017 Tajinaste Tradicional (Valle de la Orotava) by Bodega Tajinaste, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.

Deep brooding ruby color. Thick intense earthy nose with a punch of old wet driftwood, alluvial soil and volcanic mineral rock. In the back is a subtle sweet cherry and cranberry. I like this… Body is light, bright, crisp and surprisingly restrained. Mild acid goes hand-in-hand with mild tannins. Some leather carries over. Blackberry and black currants quickly dominate the palate albeit with restraint. Smooth transition to finish adds a slightly creamy tannic grip and hint of spice. The nose is simply amazing and ever present throughout the entire experience.

I went to college in Spain which is where I was first introduced to wine so I am familiar with the typically brash masculine expression in Spanish wines. However this one is certainly an exception. It is very approachable, enjoyable and interesting. I will be adding it to my cellar. It should make a fine example and representative of the Canary Islands. Bien hecho amigos!

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