Long time readers will know that we are huge fans of Gran Reserva Riojas, particularly the La Rioja Alta 904, which has its 2007 vintage landing in Costco stores right now.
But when we found this one for $25.99, it landed in the cart immediately with hopes of a wine on the same caliber as the 904 but for $15-$20 less. And it’s everything we hoped it would be, a home run for this price range and a wine that is drinking beautifully right now, eight years later.
Quick primer on the Gran Reservas – they are only released for certain stellar vintages so you often times don’t see them in back to back years. To carry the Gran Reserva designation, the wine must age at least two years in oak and then three in bottle prior to release. There is also the standard “Reserva” designation and below that “Crianza” that require less time both in the barrel and the bottle.
So Gran Reserva is the head honcho, and typically prices climb past $40, so to find one in the mid- $20’s is a score. I figured that wine was primarily Tempranillo in make up but after some poking around I found the varietal makeup which is 85% Tempranillo, 8% Garnacha tinta, 7% Graciano.
This bottle needs a minimum of an hour decant, and I would recommend closer to two hours if you really want to see what you’ve got. In the glass, the wine is fresh and lively, no signs of age around the rim; dried fruit on the nose along with some spice and notes of anise and perfume.
In the mouth, this wine has great layered texture, mild tannins that have chilled out creating a silky smooth elegant feel; flavors of dark fruit, plum, with some smoke/campfire lingering in the mouth in the finish. It’s a dry wine, savory on the finish which lasts forever.
Each drink is more interesting than the last, which is the mark of a great wine. This is a fun one to sip on with or without food. We did the latter and really tried to take it in. If you’ve never ventured in the realm of Gran Reserva Riojas because of the price tag, here’s an easy ticket in. If you have, then you will likely want to stock up on a few of these before they disappear.
CostcoWineBlog.com Rating: 91 points (a CostcoWineBlog Recommended Wine)
Costco item number: 852578
Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA (Perimeter)