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1998 La Rioja Alta 904 Rioja Gran Reserva (in magnum)
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93 Points | Stephen Tanzer's IWC - September/October 2012

Bright red with an amber rim.  Pungent, expansive scents of dried red fruits, potpourri, vanilla and pipe tobacco, with a spicy overtone.  The silky palate offers penetrating redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors sweetened by notes of vanilla and mocha.  Finishes smooth and long, with very soft tannins and lingering floral notes.  Ready to drink but there's very good depth here, suggesting (along with this wine's track record) that it will reward further patience.  I also had the chance to re-try the outstanding 2001 Vina Ardanza, which is aging at a snail's pace and really needs more time for the oak to fully integrate with its fruit.  Right now the vanilla character is dominating but there's obviously excellent material underneath it.

90 Points | Wine Spectator

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About Spain

Spain has more acres under vine than any other country and ranks third in production behind Italy and France. Much of this output continues to be hot-country jug wine made to satisfy the everyday thirsts of the domestic and greater European markets
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Tempranillo, arguably the most famous of Spain's native grapes, is a vibrant, aromatic varietal that offers spicy, red fruit aromas and flavors. The grape's name translates to "little early one," a moniker that references fruit's early ripening tendency-- Tempranillo thrives even with a short growing season. The varietal is at its best in...
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