Mission Codename Sweet Sixteen
Like your wine direct from the cellar with age? Can’t resist a great deal on a well-cellared red?
If you answered yes and yes, we agree.
How about $28 for a 16-years-young in its prime drinking window! And not one, but THREE scores in the 90s + a Gold?
Wine Spies has proudly and exclusively imported a tiny stash of this Rioja winery direct, for your immediate enjoyment. Since these wines don’t have much US presence… the reviews are from the Old World too, just like the wine, as traditional as they get.
Compute this. Three years in all new American oak first, before it spent another 3 years in the bottle prior to release, and an additional 10 years in the library! GRAN Reserva sits atop the Rioja quality pyramid and the current vintage for this is 2008. Since they’ve been at it for centuries, it’s more “affordable” in these parts to let wines age until they hit that perfect beat. They taste regularly out of barrel, and bottle to decide - not when - but IF it’s at peak. Since tons of oxygen massages the wines over time, they stay at peak condition for a long, long time too!
The classic recipe for traditional Rioja calls for American oak, as the Spanish were not always in the best of terms with their French neighbors. While they grasped from the Bordelaise all that there was to learn about making wine, it proved that the wars here and there required a more reliable source of forests to make barrels from. Enter colonialism and the vast, reliable supplies of American oak. From then on, the unique aromatic and flavor profile of these woods, with exotic hints of coconut and sweet dill became a signature. In tranquil Rioja cellars, they seem to have succeeded in stopping time.
Just as this haunting red! A pale ruby still, hard to believe, with a wide, vivid garnet and brick rim shining brilliantly. The nose holds plenty, dried cranberries and cherries mingle with a spice bazaar of sorts, with mace and floral pastille notes. In the mouth is where it truly shines, juicy with fresh acidity, set against a sweetly tannic backbone, adding in layers of fig jam, bergamot, candied ginger, and orange chutney. If it entered a complexity contest, no wine could stand up to it. The finish soars, with an impeccable balance between the fruit and savory elements. Roast lamb, ham, or your favorite tapas with this, yeah baby!
One final reason why everyone should jump on this is as Decanter substantiates “Despite its fame and popularity, prices for Rioja remain reasonable compared to other fine wine-producing regions. We all know and love Rioja, a wine famous for its Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva styles. These remain the lynchpin of the region’s wines…” and James Suckling also praises Rioja as “a great choice for people who enjoy both structure and elegance… the class and density of a Bordeaux with a splash of Burgundian finesse and tenderness. Good Rioja also tends to be a stellar wine for your cellar and represents jaw-dropping value.”
So, once you’re done with that jawzrsize, snag all you can afford, these don’t come around often!
93 Points – Natalie MacLean
“Time to enjoy this grand dame, mature Rioja - an elegant blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, and 5% Graciano grapes. Dry, full-bodied and savoury with dried red berry, cherry, fig and underbrush flavours on the palate. Food pairings: game dishes, grilled pork sausages, roast duck.”
92 Points – International Wine & Spirit Competition
“The sweet nose of macerated fruits is very forthcoming. Still fresh and gentle, the fruit is full, rounded and elegant. The great balance of ripe tannins and fresh acidity make this a most appealing wine.”
91 Points – Tim Atkin MW
“The best of the current releases from the Bodeaga, this is a classic Rioja cuvée… Aged in new American oak for 36 months, it’s smooth yet refreshing with spicy, mature, autumnal scents and flavours.”
Gold Medal – Sommelier Wine Awards
“A very complete and complex wine that ticks all the boxes, and with a decent price tag for the category… Some really mature notes come through here, like forest floor and ceps, and some fynbos on the herbal nose… A super bright wine with mocha and a hint of dark chocolate, with really lovely acidity.”
Fig jam, bergamot, candied ginger, and orange chutney
A pale ruby still, hard to believe, with a wide, vivid garnet and brick rim shining brilliantly
Dried cranberries, cherries, like a spice bazaar of sorts, with mace and floral pastille notes
Juicy, fresh acidity, sweetly tannic backbone, fig jam, bergamot, candied ginger, orange chutney
The complex finish soars, with an impeccable balance between the fruit and savory elements
Roast lamb, ham, or your favorite tapas with this, yeah baby!
What the Winery Says
2005 'Don Jacobo' Gran Reserva Rioja
- Javier Martinez
- 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo
- Rioja DOCa, Spain
- Moncalvillo, Rioja Alta
- Don Jacobo Estate
- Ferrous clay
- Vine age
- 50+ years old
- 400 meters above sea level
- Total acidity
- 6.3 g/L
- Residual sugar
- 1.8 g/L
- 36 months in barrel, 36 months in bottle
- 100% new American oak