Ridiculous luscious cherry, black as night and dripping syrupy and thick all over everything it touches. So sweet, so nectarish, so concentratedly disgustingly awesomely rich and decadent, the brilliant blackberry is reduced and aligned with chocolate and firm mousse hazelnut desserts. A spike of acid pierces the nose, an acid cling-wrapped with heavy oak and crazy vanilla, wet bark, tea leaves and the ripe rosiness confined to funerals and weddings but hardly ever dinner tables.
But wait, McConnell. You just shat all over a wine that was disgustingly rich and ripe and reeked of oak. WTF is your problem??? Here’s the deal: THAT was an Oregon Pinot. THIS is a rioja gran reserva going on 10. If you think that is a double-standard, you need to go back to Wine 101.
Impenetrable garnet, ruby-still at the core, rosy at the edge, even, and yet tertiary pours off this thing. Easy to imagine in the mouth, the key piece being ‘how much acid is there’? Here, the entrance defined by the nose is accosted by zing quite early. The mouthfeel doesn’t really coincide with the nose–it is actually years younger. There’s the beauty of a great Rioja. You smell this thing and you almost expect some sort of ripasso or Barolo situation and lo-and-behold it is vibrant and fresh. Much of the nose is actually quite difficult to find on the palate. It’s all pie-cherry and pomegranate, flush with early structure, but clean and bright going down. Tannins soft and juicy–we’re not drinking this for the tannin–everything so balanced on the side of chunky oak.
I don’t have to remind myself this is Rioja Gran Reserva. It is just such a good one, it all fits. Sure, it is a huge house and probably formulaic, but hey.
2010 BARON DE LEY Tempranillo Gran Reserva Rioja DOC Spain 14.0