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! ***