1981 Viña Real Gran Reserva Rioja

SKU #1088292 Wine Spectator

 Altogether appealing. Complex and rich in flavor, with ripe, chocolaty, plummy flavors accented by anise and smoke. Firmly tannic, but smooth- textured, and the finish lingers...  (3/1990)

K&L Notes

Vina Real is one of the three wineries that make up the Cune family of Rioja producers. The Viña Real label has existed since the 1920's, producing wines showcasing the character of Rioja Alavesa. However, it gained its own winery, an impressive feat of modern architecture designed by French architect Philippe Mazieres, in 2004 when the facility was designed and built exclusively for the production of Viña Real wines. The best fruit from the best Alavesa plots are selected for the Gran Reserva. According to tradition, initial fermentation takes place in a neutral vessal with frequent skin contact, finishing with malolactic fermentation is carried out in French and American oak barrels. It is then transferred to first to ask for the required extended aging, and then to bottle. Gran Reservas from top vintages can age decades.

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Price: $239.99
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Staff Image By: Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/5/2012 | Send Email
I tasted this a few months ago at a Vina Real Library Event and this was far and away my favorite wine of the tasting. The wine had an elegant nose of dried flowers and leather but truly came to life on the palate. Deep umami flavors of seaweed and soy sauce struck a balance with cherry compote and toasted bread. The wine finished long with deep espresso flavors. A show stopper.

Additional Information:



- 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.