1998 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Gran Reserva Rioja
There is a wonderful element of whimsy and joy at this tiny, family bodega located in Laguardia. The elephant logo, the on-site African art museum, as well as the name (there is no Señor de Lesmos, as it turns out) all speak to the family's joie de vivre and sense of humor. There is nothing funny about the quality of these wines, though. All estate fruit, hand harvested, and carefully vinified with native yeasts, this is a hand sewn wine with the purity, texture and elegance to prove it. Having spend 30 months in barrel and many more months in bottle, this Gran Reserva smells of ripe red fruit and chewy, dried fruits as well, with a subtle hint of tomato leaf. On the palate, the red fruits show great development, with lots of chalky minerality and the elegance of a middle aged Gran Reserva. A perfect blend of rusticity and elegance - so typical of old school Rioja - is clearly shown in this lovely wine.