We usually bring the wine when we go to Miguel's family's house. This time we brought a Gran Elias Mora, a blockbuster wine from Toro. While it was aerating in the decanter, Uncle Constancio offered up an older Rioja. We cleaned out a bunch of old Riojas at Christmas…most of them were way gone…so naturally I was a little dubious.
However this wine is a top end single-vineyard wine from a bodega I know well. It's also from 1996, not as old at the over-the-hill 92s I was drinking over the holidays.
A pet peeve of mine is that people often keep their wines too long...it seems the word reserve on the label encourages it. The beauty of the traditional reserva system in Spain is that the winery doesn't release the wine for many years. It is already ready to drink upon release…yes you can keep a reserve for many more years….but it is only the absolute top wines that are drinking well ten years on.
This wine was still drinking well ten years on! It was fading a little, but still ahd lots of elegant, delicate fruit left. It was a pleasant surprise….
Wine: Carravalseca Reserva 1996
Winery: Bodegas Primicia
Appellation: DOCa Rioja
Grape variety: 50% Tempranillo, 50% others (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Oak regime: 27 months in oak
Price: Around 24 euros in Spain
Visual: Elegant brick color, very bright
Nose: Lots of terciary aromas: earth, mushroom, tobacco. Some oxidation notes, but some nice delicate cherry fruit still showing nicely.
Mouth: Elegant older Rioja. Great acid and elegant, but fading fruit. Super smooth, tannins all mellow, a little bit of barnyard. Extremely long finish with wonderful dried cherry fruit.
Food: It was very nice with some of the milder appetizers, the tempura veggies, for example. Too delicate to go with stronger flavors.
Retaste: No retaste…
Conclusion: A nice example of an elegantly aging Rioja Reserva. It is on the downward slide but is still drinking nicely. Not for the modern palate, but I would love to taste more of these aging Rioja beauties…unfortunately many of them have not fared so well as this one.