2004 Marques de Vargas Reserva Rioja (Previously $25)

SKU #1042790

90 points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2004 Reserva, composed of 75% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo, 5% Garnacha, and 10% other varietals, spent 23 months in French, Russian, and American oak. Medium dark ruby-colored, it offers an excellent bouquet of cedar, spice box, black cherry, and blackberry. This leads to an elegant, complex, medium to full-bodied wine with excellent depth, balance, and length. It will evolve for 3-4 years and drink well through 2020." (02/08) 90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid red. Sexy aromas of cherry-vanilla, raspberry and cola, with a suave floral undertone. Broad, fleshy and sweet, with oak-spiced red and dark fruit flavors and velvety tannins. Finishes sweet and with excellent persistence, echoing the vanilla note. Those with a higher oak tolerance will find my score stingy." (Sept/Oct '09) Some of you may have had the 2003 vintage of this wine and, good news, the 2004 is even better. From a better vintage overall, this has a hugely spicy, savory nose layered with fresh fennel, black pepper and cigar smoke, is the first sign of the seriousness of this wine. Pliable tannins will allow you to drink this early, but really this is meant for the cellar. The flavors of fig, Pastis, caramel and tobacco leaf will only get better and more meshed with age. The oak, already perfectly rounded, will continue to bolster all of the fruit here for at least another 7-9 years. (Bryan Brick, K&L Wine Merchants)

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Price: $19.99
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- A very important red grape varietal that's native to Northern Spain, grown across the north and central regions of the country. Low in acid and alcohol, with subtle strawberry, leather and tobacco notes, the grape responds well to oak aging and plays particularly well with others. Tempranillo is an important component, when combined with Garnacha, Mazuelo, Viura and Graciano, of Rioja, with the best examples coming for the cooler, higher-elevation regions like Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. It is also grown in significant quantities in the Ribera del Duero where it is called Tinto Fino and Penèdes where it is called Ull de Llebre o Ojo de Llebre. Tempranillo hasn't gained a particularly strong foothold outside of Spain, achieving some success under the name Tinto Roriz in Portugal. There it is used as a component of Port and in the table wines of the Ribera del Duero and the Dão.


- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.