Wine of the Week

Have I mentioned before that I'm a fan of ratings and scores?  I know that to be a very funny question.  I've even done a blog about my being a Score Whore a while back.

A while back I also did a blog about my Wine Cellar Reorg.  Part of that reorganization got me thinking about the wines that I have and giving some thought to how do I choose the next wine to drink when the opportunity arises (that actually happens ALL THE TIME).  

Anyway, I was giving some thought to preparing a nice dinner for myself and I started to go over my cellar to determine which wine I should have with my meal.  One of the things that I'm starting to give some precedence to is age.  It's not that I have tons of very old wines, no, in fact, by comparison, I'm sure that most of my wines would still be considered quite young.  Nonetheless, I will sometimes sort my wines by vintage to give me a sense as to what I have that may be getting a little long in the tooth so to speak.  On this particular occasion, I happened to come across a wine from the 2005 Vintage.  Now when I tell you the wine, I know you're going to say something like, "What, another Spanish wine?"  Why?  Well, it is a Spanish wine.  It was the

La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva 2005

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A number of things started to jump out at me as I did some checking into the wine through my management system, CellarTracker.  Taking nothing away from others reviews, I did read a couple reviews that made me think about how we evaluate wine.  Probably a big issue is how long have we been drinking wine, especially with the intent to evaluate it versus just those who drink.  I mention this as some of the reviews seemed to think the wine was just okay or maybe past its prime.  Good news is that most of the reviews still gave it high scores.

Professionally, it received 96 Points from the likes of Wine Advocate and Wine Enthusiast and 94 Points from Vinous Media.  Pretty good if you ask me.

Vines well over 40 years old and composed of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, the fermented wine was aged in 4 year old American Oak barrels for 4 years.  Generally, Gran Reserva wines from Spain are only released when the winery feels that they have reached that level of perfection and when they show their pedigree.  I say that as while this is a 2005 vintage, it is not that old as compared to when it was released.  Even now, the current vintage in stores is 2007.  Any other reason I picked this particular wine for my dinner you ask...

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"Yes", I proclaimed.  I happened to be making a pork tenderloin and found a recipe for a balsamic vinegar and beef stock reduction that sounded wonderful.  Just so happens that one of the reviews talked about the wine having a balsamic bouquet and knowing that Tempranillo tends to be a slightly more earthy wine along with its mellowed aging, I thought the combination would be a real stunner.  Just so you know, I was right!  Not trying to be egotistical here, I just love it when things like this come together.  

Should you be inspired to rush out and pick up a bottle, let me remind you that the 2005 is probably not available anywhere.  The good news is that the 2007 can be had.  Even better news is that it too received comparable reviews and I feel that it would be of equal quality.  One last thing, if you haven't already guessed, this is not an inexpensive wine like some of my previous Spanish wines I have reviewed.  You are probably looking at a price just South of $60 a bottle.  Not cheap, but then again, comparable to some of the Napa Cabernets out there right now. You are also getting a wine that has been pre-aged for you as well.  Give it a try.