On opening this Reserva has a unique bouquet of pastry (yeast but with some sweetness) and closer in toward the glass, there is a powerful, jammy wild strawberries, wild blackberries nose of really ripe and fresh fruit that lead into mouth filling flavors. This Rioja has a backbone of toughness which I believe will mellow with some breathing. The finish is firm with some nice and big flavors that linger.
With some air time, there are licorice notes coming to the fore and even more intense bouquet aromas with fabulously rich mouth filling flavors. This Tempranillo’s spine loosens up, flexes its muscle and shows its champion body building form. The finish just keeps on going. There is yet another layer of raisins that pushes to the surface with a Zinfandel-like finish of spice and pepper. This is a first rate wine and at $18, is a real treat. The only thing preventing me from making it a “recommended buy” is I doubt it’s ready availability.
I should note that I am not experienced with Rioja wines. I bought this on the recommendation of the wine store person after Gaiter and Brecher (The Wall Street Journal Friday Wine Column (Feb. 24 ) recommended buying a Rioja–any Rioja–over $20 to find a special treat.
As usual, they were right. This is a special wine.
I paired this wine with venison tenderloin patted with a spicy hot rub and seared in a pan of olive oil. I served it medium rare with a mushroom duxelle and broiled asparagus with homemade linguine topped with a lightly seasoned tomatoe based sauce, fresh basil, and fresh grated parmigianna reggiano. It was marvelous!