Tonight’s Occasion: 2004 Rioja (Gran Reserva Especial) by Bodegas Urbina, Cuzcurrita, España.
Clear intense color. Out of the bottle, soft notes of slightly ripe plum and driftwood leather. Ripe dark cherries, red vines licorice, cola and subtle rocky mineral essence linger in the back. Swirling unlocks puffs of sweet fruit essence and earth notes. As it breathes, mild butterscotch and crisp eucalyptus emerge, so subtle you’d likely miss them. Ahhhhh… Yes.
Body shows good balanced. Subtle acidity brings a slight tension. This is immediately countered by thin dry plum that forms an unobtrusive structure. A barely noticeable touch of oak vanilla further softens the already well integrated tannins to create a slightly silky mouth feel while elevating the fruit. This successfully masks an otherwise dry body. A faint spice momentarily ponders it’s appearance before receding with the rest of the body. This marks the transition to finish as a wet wood leather grows more prominent, ending in moist lips, gentle tannic grip and subtle spice tingling. As it opens up, the body becomes slightly chewy.
This is how Tempranillo was meant to be enjoyed. It needs time, a lot of time. It has had time to integrate nicely and find its balance. I would venture to say it is at its peak expression. This is a fantastic example from a stubborn winemaker who insists on serving wine when it is ready and not a moment sooner. I looked at the 1994 Gran Reserva and recall it was enlightening experience that changed the way I look at Rioja and Tempranillo at large. This wine is currently available for a bargain. The 2000 Seleccion vintage is also available at a head scratching price. Check the WineSnob Watch List for more hidden gems.
Reader Tasting Notes
One of my favorite WineSnobs, Jeremy was kind enough to share his thoughts and notes on this wine. I love it! Enjoy!
Out of the bottle…”effin Yummy!” 😂 let’s see how this develops… 🤔… as I suspected, still effin yummy!!!
Aright…honest initial impression.
Color is striking. It’s bright and translucent, garnet color. Very appealing in the glass.
Nose on first pour was raspberry and cherry cola. Almost tickles the nose with fizziness. Swirl and sit for 15 minutes…if you can wait that long…leather and caramel. Subtle though. There’s something dark creeping that I can’t identify. A little funky…mossy or muddy? Mushroom maybe?
Taste is medium, almost light bodied. Very bright and acidic for a wine of this age. Perfect balance. Fruit is secondary. Rich cherry almost like an old fashioned with a smoky ice cube. Leather. Something that burns the throat a bit, in a nice way. A little peppery. Tannins grip after 30 minutes. A pleasant bitterness on the back that lingers with the spice. (Minty?)
This wine is so good you could brush your teeth with it.
It’s not mouth puckering like a beaujolais, but makes me think that direction.
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