February 11, 2013
Great old Riojas at great prices

We have constant sources for exciting new releases from all over the world and have become a continuous focal point for some of the most compelling closeout opportunities anywhere. But as tenacious and hardworking as we are, we'd be the first to admit that finding great, aged wine in quantity is difficult. There aren't that many places to look and provenance is always an issue. Finding great aged wine often comes down to just plain luck.

That is what makes this particular find quite rewarding. One purveyor (who is pretty tenacious in his own right) found a source for rather impressive lots of fabulous old Riojas. Where do you find quantities of great old Riojas? Spain... duh. But more specifically in the cellars of some of the great old restaurants who keep deep inventory for their own service. He approached a number of these sources and apparently found some takers since Spain's economy isn't particularly stellar these days.

Still others we got from our regular, impeccable sources who have library programs. They came pretty much directly from the bodegas and are also in excellent condition. We grabbed a bunch of these knowing that if there wasn't enough interest from the wine buying public, we wouldn't have much of a problem (ahem) "working off" some of the stock ourselves. The wines come from fabulous vintages (mostly 1994, one of our favorites in Rioja), from top traditional houses with whom we were very familiar with (Cune, La Rioja Alta, Marques de Murietta, Lopez de Heredia, Marques de Caceres) and at prices that were very easy to swallow for wines with this kind of age and pedigree. These are all drinking beautifully now (we've tried them all... it's a tough job).

In addition, we've added another one from the '90s (Faustino) that came from normal channels but definitely fits here. Why pay more for current releases when you can pay less for wine that's ready-to-drink now? Classic, spicy, dusty red and black fruits... these are similar to fine older Burgundies in weight and color, but with a bit more verve. Can you imagine what Bordeaux or Burgundy from top vintages with this kind of bottle age would cost? That makes these relative bargains as well. ¡Viva Rioja!

*** Attention: Due to the age of these bottles, the corks will be brittle. An ah-so opener or Screwpull hand model (or other applicable cork puller) is highly recommended. A little patience will be required, but you will be greatly rewarded. Salud! ***

 
LA RIOJA ALTA 1994 RIOJA GRAN RESERVA 904
score: IWC 91

add to cart $59.99   add a case $719.88

Of course, the first question we expect from people upon seeing something  special like this from a great old vintage is ‘where did it come from?’  Without being ‘smart Alecs’ the answer is... Spain.  No really.  An ambitious purveyor figured out that the economy in Spain isn’t necessarily robust and knew what deep stocks of old Riojas some of the top restaurants keep. So he went shopping at these es... read more

MARQUES DE CACERES 1987 GRAN RESERVA RIOJA
score: IWC 91

add to cart $59.99   add a case $719.88

Stephen Tanzer writes in International Wine Cellar: "Good fresh red. Tangy currant, coffee, cedar, leather and smoky oak aromas are fresh and complex. Sweet, lively and delineated, with penetrating redcurrant and mineral flavors supported by beautifully integrated acidity. Finishes with dusty tannins and impressive persistence."

A classic Rioja from a well known producer, but this is a not something we found lying around. We had the opportuni... read more

MARQUES DE CACERES 1985 GRAN RESERVA RIOJA
score: WA 91+

add to cart $59.99   add a case $719.88

Luis Gutierrez writes in The Wine Advocate: "I was pleasantly surprised to find the 1985 Gran Reserva for tasting. As they were never into long aging in wood for their wines (28-30 months), this wine shows the profile of long aging in bottle. I guess this is available on the market and it's well worth searching for it if you want to drink a truly classic Rioja. This translucent cherry-colored wine with an orange rim has an intoxicating nose of smoked... read more
 
 


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