Ahhh – Sunday evening tastings returneth, and only four days to Richard and Angie’s nuptials. And, symbolically, it was two wines this evening, both Riojas from the same 01 vintage.
Firstly, Roda 1 Reserva (14.5%) made solely from Tempranillo. Dense black in colour with some viscosity this smelt vaguely of blackberries but it had quite a muted fruit nose. The taste was dry with sweet notes with a touch of tannin to give it structure (our notes).
This can be compared to Anthony Rose’s notes, following a vineyard visit “Youthful ruby hue, still vigorous, lovely fragrant red fruits quality, seductively concentrated bright cherry and strawberry fruit with delicious purity and concentration, a touch of sweet chocolate, yet real elegance and freshness with oak integration bringing spicy top notes. Very complex with firm structure and fine lovely balance. Drink now and 5 – 8 years. 94”.
We must be missing a trick! It was a well-made wine, not particularly complex and lacking the characteristics we would associate with a 13 year old Rioja.
The second wine, the Wine Societies’ Exhibition Rioja from CVNE was a Grand Reserva at 13.5% ABV. This was ‘mostly Tempranillo’ with the addition of Graciano and Mazuelo. Almost black in colour with a still purply-red rim, this wine was much more interesting. Raspberry aromas on the nose heralded lovely acidity and leathery tastes that were very attractive.
We thought the difference may have been that of a Gran Reserva vs. Reserva; the Roda was still too young; or the blend of grapes in the CVNE made it more interesting. I think the latter is the stronger argument. I drank a 100% Tempranillo from Valencia a few days previously and found it well-made but a bit monotone. Graciano is a real ‘lifting’ grape, adding so much to the Tempranillo which can be flat without it.
The blogs will continue but best wishes Richard and Angie.
[Richard: Thanks Geoff! The Roda 1 (Lay and Wheeler, about £30) had been open for 24 hours when Geoff tasted it. On opening there was an attenuated Rioja nose, little tempranillo taste. More ‘new’ Rioja than ‘old’ Rioja – so much so that Angie – not a Rioja fan – found it likeable. On Sunday it hadn’t improved, just faded a bit. I can’t see that keeping the couple I have left will result in any improvement. This bodega is fashionable now but I was disappointed and the wine is definitely overpriced. [Edit: just tasted another bottle, six months on and it is terrific. Deep, rich, savoury, leather on the nose and lots of fruit. Fabulous.] The WS Exhibition (bought at £18, later sold at £25 when the grower’s subsidy disappeared) was more old school which is the style I prefer. A classy Rioja and, at £18, a bargain.]