Monday, April 5, 2010

1985 Rioja

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1985 Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva, DOCa Rioja

Second wine of the night, and clearly the most spectacular wine I've drank this year. Unfortunately, I don't have the opportunity to drink a lot of old wines, and this release was one I was going to buy, regardless of price. From the same producer as the last wine, the 2004 Coto de Imaz. The only difference (besides vintage) was that this wine was a Gran Reserva, implying a longer aging period, both in oak barrel and in the bottle, before the wine was released.

With these older wines, you have to temper your expectations. I wanted really hard to just fall in love, but I had to remind myself that this wine was a year older than I was. Thankfully, there was no need for any trepidation - the wine was spectacular. Shows a very mature colour, all brick red, amber edges, deep orange/red at the core. Holds onto its saturation very well - still showing colour at the rim. The bouquet was stunning. My goodness. Showing a lot of stewed strawberries, very pure, gently aromatic and very mature. The minerality, the narrative connecting this wine with the 2004, underlines the still intense fruit. Focus remains. I'm not going to by hyperbolic and say how young the wine was on the nose. This was clearly a mature wine, clearly one over 20 years. What was so fascinating was its intensity, its focus. A grand old man with all his faculties of mind and body intact, but showing the wear of his years.

Very harmonious on the palate, elegant, showing the fruit aromas - stewed strawberries, plums, red berries. Very balanced, showing how special wine can be when all its elements integrate perfectly. Acidity rides high on the finish, leaving the faint impression of very fine tannins. Extraordinarily long, spice-filled finish. Yes, the wine is old, but still has lots of fight and vigour left. Easily can go for another 10 years.

The wine held up well over the 2 days we drank it. Remains focused - many of these older wines begin breaking apart with air. And with pan-seared steak...wow. Delicious all the way, the acidity perfectly cutting the fat, the flavours just melding and creating a symphony of lights on the palate.

A grand example of how important a wine classically-made Rioja is.

DF

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