Our verdict – “This is a really good, full-bodied Rioja. This is better than a Marques de Riscal which is often a bit overpriced. It’s a riserva, rather than a gran riserva but none the worse for that.”
We still preferred the Trapezio ++.
The difference between a riserva and a gran riserva
Under Spanish law a riserva has to be matured for a miniumum of three years of which one must be in the cask; a gran riserva must be aged for at least five years of which two years are in oak. Riservas are typically more ‘forward’ while gran riservas are softer and more subtle. However, much depends on the wine itself – some excellent riservas are better than some, less good, gran riservas.
This bodega is just five minutes down the road from Heras Cordon in Rioja. Again, they are old-school wine makers – founded by the grandfather – the bodega is named after the current owner Loli Casado. It’s a good alternative to the more commonplace Marques de Riscal. The current vintage is a 2005 and they didn’t make another Reserva until 2009, for which incidentally they both won a silver award from Decanter magazine – which demonstrates their consistency of excellent wine making.
This 2005 is ready to drink. Some people like their Riojas with more body but this is a nice, light earthy, smooth alternative.
They are very friendly people there. I was with my wife and my mother and after all the business discussions were over they said “we’d like to make you a nice meal” and we had a really enjoyable late lunch. There are a lot of advantages to being a wine merchant!
Decant before serving
Available from Ralph’s Wines Online