1995 La Rioja Alta "890" Gran Reserva Rioja
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Tasted twice, the 1995 Gran Reserva 890 is a blend of 95% Tempranillo (from Brinas, Labastida and Villaba), 3% Graciano and 1% Mazuelo, all aged in American oak for six years and delivering a headache-avoiding 12.7% alcohol. It has a heavenly bouquet that soars from the glass with soy, marmalade, a touch of Seville orange marmalade and cloves, all with superb delineation. The palate is very well-balanced with crisp, finely-tuned tannins that lend it wonderful focus. One can find vivacious flavors of strawberry, orange sorbet and citrus lemon while the finish is incredibly youthful and displays a level of tension that Alfred Hitchcock would be proud of. Outstanding traditional Rioja pulled out from the top drawer. Why? Because it whisks the drinker from wherever they are to, where the wine was born. Drink now-2030+
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Deep red. Complex, expressive bouquet displays red- and blackcurrant, cherry, cigar box, vanilla bean, cola and pipe tobacco, expanding with air and picking up potpourri and mocha qualities. Sweet, deeply concentrated red and dark berry flavors are impressively lithe, with silky tannins adding gentle grip. Candied flower and baking spice notes linger on the impressively long, energetic finish. There's no way I'd have guessed this wine to be 18 years old. Hold it for another ten years, or more, or serve it now with Middle Eastern-spiced lamb shanks.
Cedar, tobacco, hot brick and dried cherry notes mingle in this traditional red. Plump, featuring lively acidity and just enough tannins for grip. The long, spicy finish brings you back for another sip. Drink now.