An impromptu dinner was put together to welcome back our dear friend from Spain, Monica Nogues, who has her own Spanish wine import business here, Think Global Wines, as well as being a representative and distributor for R. Lopez de Heredia.
Seven of us along with Monica and a her business rep enjoyed a fabulous dinner at our locally fine Opal restaurant where we were personally treated with class buy a co-owner and served righteously by their so competent wait staff.
We all brought wines to oblige the theme request for Rioja Gran Reserva:
NV CHARLES HEIDSIECK BRUT ROSE RESERVE- 80% blend of the 3 traditional grapes from the harvest year plus 20% reserve wines equally Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; for a Spanish wine theme, this French contribution got us off to a stellar start; it had significant aromatics of ginger, toasted brioche and spicy strawberries which continued on being joined by a touch of cinnamon and vanilla and delivered in a creamy lush texture which coated the palate with all of its treasures; my kind of rose style and the first bottle of a new 6 pack for which the remaining 5 will be revered with anticipation.
2002 R. LOPEZ de HEREDIA VINA TONDONIA BLANCO RESERVA RIOJA- blend of Viura and Malvasia; straw yellow color; nose of coconut, mineral and lemongrass; the taste has some more minerality along with a bit of ginger, dry spices and citrus; the mouthfeel is soft and easy and the finish has some good hang time; nice white from red country.
1994 R. LOPEZ de HEREDIA VINA TONDONIA BLANCO GRAN RESERVA RIOJA- 85% Viura, 15% Malvasia; bottled unfiltered in 1995; golden yellow color; nose has some petrol, flint, mineral and grapefruit notes; the taste is more of the same and the fruit is more tart here; it has a high level of acidity, nice layered depth and decent length; refreshing and palate cleansing wine.
1998 MARQUES de MURRIETA CASTILE YGAY GRAN RESERVA ESPECIAL BLANCO RIOJA- aromatics are redolent of tropical, floral accents along with vanilla flavored lemon zest and a touch of minerals; lemon lime is more prevalent in the taste profile which is delivered in a lush and viscous creamy texture which contributes to a long finish where it all comes together; very profound fine wine.
2000 R. LOPEZ de HEREDIA ROSADO VINA TONDONIA GRAN RESERVA RIOJA- 60% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo, 10% Viura; dark pale salmon color; this bottle had a nose strongly suggestive of being corked along with some earthy, musty character; fortunately, the taste profile was overriding and offered an unsuspected and welcomed lots of cranberry cherry fruit which finished on the dried fruity side.
2005 LA RIOJA ALTA 904 GRAN RESERVA RIOJA- this bottle had a multitude of things going on including talc and vanilla flavored dried cranberry cherry accented with a hit of spice, coconut, licorice and leather; it was lighter in weight and long on the palate; there`s a sense of much more to come with some age.
2003 R. LOPEZ de HEREDIA VINA TONDONIA RESERVA RIOJA- the nose was inviting with nice mineral, cedar and oak spice infused red cherry, black currant and cranberry fruit with a tinge of smoke; all carried on and evolved through the mid palate and all the way to the back end; it had good mouthfeel, structure and length; this was a fruit smoothie in a wine bottle.
1994 R. LOPEZ de HEREDIA VINA TONDONIA GRAN RESERVA RIOJA- 75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, 5% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo; 12% abv,; vibrant red color; serious nose indicating layers with depth unfolding; tasty spicy black cherry fruit with a hit of pepper and eucalyptus prevails and about mid palate, the fruit becomes more wild red cherry; smooth and easy mouthfeel and nicely balanced.
1982 FEDERICO PATERNINA GRAN RESERVA RIOJA- 90% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha and Mazuelo; 12% abv.; this bottle extended an invitation to come in and it delivered with joy and pleasure; it had at best, a medium body, good upfront ripe dark fruit notes with wild berries and plums especially evident along with a streak of minerality; it was easy on the palate and stayed on for a welcomed finish.
1976 MUGA CRIANZA RIOJA- made from the typical 4 red varieties blend; I got a lot of wild red and black fruit in the nose and then on into the taste profile joined by nice plum notes; it was silky smooth, had an ongoing ever developing expression that grew with each revisit; I kept this in the glass and followed it along as it just kept opening up and became more impressive; a very good wine.
1970 BODEGAS FRANCO ESPANOLAS CRIANZA RIOJA- here`s another winner; this one is made from Tempranillo, Viura, Garnacha and Tinta; I got some surprising bacon, earth, leather and cranberry in the nose with a raisiny character mindful of an Amarone joining in at first taste; it`s seriously complex and full on with elegance and soft tannins; it`s got many years to go with sustained viability; loved it!
1964 LA RIOJA ALTA RIOJA RESERVA 904 RIOJA- speaking of viability, this bottle had that as well with only a slight amount of bricking evident; it had lots of bright red fruit, a bit of spice and vanilla and a so pleasing texture; medium bodied, it was good in every sensory aspect.
PRIMITIVO QUILE “FONDILLON” GRAN RESERVA SOLERA 1948 ALICANTE- not fortified, this late harvest Solera made wine uses Monastrell fruit; dark maple color; the nose was full on nutty almond butter and the taste added some apricot, ginger, brown sugar and maple syrup notes; it`s rich and full bodied and has a long finish; delightful.
2008 ALVEAR PEDRO XIMENEZ de ANADA- 375ml; dark amber color; Amarone like notes in the nose; a taste of honeyed raisin and fig and a touch of dried prune; thick and syrupy and therefore quite long; a sweet end to this wonderful evening.