Tag Archives: Rioja Reserva

What we’re drinking: A 10 year old Rioja

Brynn writes:

This week’s wine is from 2001, it’s from Spain and it’s still got some life to it.

At the end of September, while I was in New Orleans learning about the future of journalism, my husband opened a bottle that had been gathering dust on our wine rack. It was a 2001 Montecillo Rioja Reserva.

We’ve probably had the bottle for at least a year, and honestly it’s one I was saving for a nice dinner between the two of us. But since those evenings are few and far between thanks to our work schedules, the bottle remained untouched. That is until a month ago.

I’ll admit I didn’t get a chance to taste the wine, but I let my husband’s palate tell me all I needed to know. He described it as slightly flat, with little finish. I attribute these descriptors to his lack of experience tasting older wines.

Typically we drink wines that are meant to be had within the year we purchased them. While we have grown our wine library in the last year, we haven’t yet popped the corks on any of the wines we’re aging because they aren’t ready yet. So with that in mind, when Jeff tried this 10 year old wine, he went into it expecting upfront tannins and a heavy weight that left an impression on his mouth (similar to what a 2008 Rioja might do).

I went online to see what other wine drinkers were saying about this wine and here’s what I found. Most people called the wine a “tremendous value” because of its price point — hovering around $25 the price is quite reasonable for a wine of this age.

One reviewer said this of the wine:

“…low alcohol, dusty tannins, long finish, and a successful, marvelous, and continuous juggling act between acid, oak and fruit. Do not expect New World style fruit or oak; the oak is a whisper, and the cherry fruit is almost mute.” — Wine Crumudgeon

And here’s the winemaker’s notes:
  • Color: An intense and very deep cherry-pomegranate color with ruby tones, clean and brilliant.
  • Bouquet: Deep and fruity with a perfect touch of oak integrated into the ripened fruit.
  • Taste: Powerful and full-bodied although soft, round and velvety, it fills the mouth with ripe blackberries and firm tannins. Very well-structured, with a long, elegant finish.
  • Food pairings: An ideal accompaniment to red meat, especially when grilled, and all kinds of roasted meats, including those that are well-spiced. As a powerful wine, it also reinforces the flavors of strong and well-cured cheeses, such as Blue Cheese and Roquefort.

I can’t remember where we bought this wine, but if you see a Rioja from Montecillo on the shelves, or a Reserva, I highly recommend grabbing a bottle.