La Vicalanda de Viña Pomal 1994 Rioja Reserva Bodegas Bilbainas



This came from Majestic Wine as part of a mixed case of Riojas and was described as an ‘absolute steal’. The sales pitch also suggested that 1994 was a great vintage and, as research showed, it was the first year this wine had been produced. It wasn’t a blend, but rather pure Tempranillo. So far so good. Customer reviews, however, were not so effusive in their praise, with complaints about the cork and the wine itself and wine being sent back. Richard and I were unaware of the responses when we tasted the wine last Sunday – ‘ignorance is bliss’, as the saying goes.

The colour was a deep red but with a distinctly brown rim, as might be expected from a wine nearly 20 years old. There were very light windows clinging to the glass side, suggesting a light wine (it was 12.5% alc). The cork was fine although crystals had formed on its base. The nose had a powerful vegetal/farmyard  aromas, not unpleasant, very rich but with little fruit. It suggested quality and age and we both kept returning to it. Richard thought he smelt marzipan, a sweet/almond nose, again showing how interestingly complex this nose was. On the palate it was light and dry, the mid-palate being especially intense and then vanishing. The mouth feel was thin. What few tannins there were did soften through the evening but it kept a good structure and was drinking perfectly well the following day. Praise indeed for a wine this age. On the whole, we agreed it was a well-made wine and, at £12 a bottle, it was both enjoyable to drink as well as interesting.


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