Every once in a while in my profession I get to meet up with old friends. On this particular occasion, it happened to be a personal trip that allowed me to have a great evening with an old high school friend whom I have not seen in close to 30 years. He has not changed one bit, I on the other hand have grown rounder and balder. We hoisted the first glass of this delicious Rioja in honor of our fallen friend, ‘Bonange’, who recently succumbed to colon cancer. Our band of merry men were nicknamed the Hyenas for some obscure reason, but we were all close friends growing up in Africa. Many years later we are still in touch and can get together at the spur of the moment and have a great time reminiscing.
The wine itself was extraordinary. Not quite black in the glass, it was a severe shade of dark, alluring and intriguing. The nose was murky, with some dampness and funk combining with purple lavender and some black fruits. I had been given a taste of another aged Rioja prior to this bottle, it was far more earthy. This one was somewhat fresher yet retained that Rioja typicity. The blend is 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 7% Mazuelo and 3% Graciano.
On the first sip I was getting dark cherry, blackcurrant and some leather. A mid palate tinge of smoke was quite interesting and the tannins were ever present, but not obtrusive. Good mouthfeel throughout with a decent length finish made me long for yet another sip. We paired this wine with all kinds of Tapas, including ribs, braised rabbit, chicken and some beef carpaccio. It sang on every occasion. It can be had for $27 in the shops and gets an average of 91 points from the pros, I concur. I’m going 5 stars on this wine and am loading up a shopping cart with the stuff. I plan on drinking it over the next 5-7 years. Salut….