1973 Viña Valoria Rioja

SKU #1033457 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 1973 Vina Valoria is my pick of two mature vintages that I tasted. (The bodegas apparently has abundant stocks of older wines.) It is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 10% Mazuelo. It continues to offer a surprisingly rich bouquet of red berry fruit, sloes, molasses and cigar box that benefits from an hour’s worth of decanting, during which it attains great harmony. The palate is well-balanced and sweet, with honey-tinged red fruit, fresh dates, raisin and a touch of toffee. Again, the palate seems to thrive with aeration and what is initially a slightly cloying finish, ends up well-delineated and refined. This little gem is certainly worth seeking out and it certainly appears to have the substance to continue its glacial evolution. Drink now-2020+  (8/2012)

K&L Notes

This is one of two beautiful, older bottlings from this little known Rioja producer. My impressions after tasting the '68 and this terrific '73 are that the younger bottle shows more freshness and slightly less evolution. On the nose this wine is all Rioja spice, savor and warm red fruit compote. The delicious ripe red fruit has good texture and presence, showing a decidedly aged Burgundian bent to be sure. Regardless of which wine one prefers, though, this or the more Bordeaux-like '68, both are clearly terrific values that show how beautifully Rioja ages. Despite their vintage, if tasted this blind I would have a tough time believing that either of these wines were much more than 20 years of age. Both wines from Valoria are perfect to mark special occasions, as well as to put in a line-up for anyone who wants to assemble a tasting of fullly mature reds. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish Wine Buyer)

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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.
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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.