Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2001 Rioja Reserva


2001 Señorío De P. Peciña Reserva | DOCa Rioja

I'm drinking old Rioja again. Those things you leave for a while and come back . . . all of a sudden, a rush of feeling. The euphoria, the joy of it all. Rioja was getting a bit boring - all good wines, make no doubt, but it was getting almost predictable. Tempranillo was turning into the mindless go-to wine; I needed a timeout from Spain.

I had left piano for a while, the performance part of it anyway. Everyone asks if I practice on my own, and I say yes, but I really don't. So the times I do go back to it, it brings me a lot of happiness because there's no pressure, no expectation of anything; I can do it for the sheer sake of doing something I love. I teach on the weekends, mostly beginners, and while it satisfies my pedagogic tendencies, there's nothing that compares to stepping on stage, audience at your fingertips, ego at full tilt. It's good to leave things for a while - reminds you how special they are.

Tempranillo starts showing its character at 10 years of age. This particular bottling fulfilled all the aging requirements to be classified as a gran reserva, but the producer made the decision to take it a step down to reserva. Whatever the reason, I respect the humility that shows, because the wine is extraordinary. Approaching maturity, singing of minerals and earth and beautiful rusticity. A hallmark of top Rioja is freshness and structure, even after extensive oxidative and reductive aging. After a full 24 hours after it was open, the wine was still focused, fragrant, and full of life. Stunning.

It took a few months away from drinking any Spanish wine for me to realize how special old Rioja is. Truly singular, grand wines of the world.


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