1995 La Rioja Alta "890" Gran Reserva Rioja

SKU #1094241 96 points 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+  (8/2012)

93 points 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.  (8/2008)

90 points Wine Spectator

 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.  (6/2012)

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Varietal:

Tempranillo

- 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.
Country:

Spain

- 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.
Sub-Region:

Rioja