EXQUISITE: Herederos del Marques de Riscal Rioja Reserva, 2005. Retails for $19.95, available online for as little as $12.95.

We tried another Rioja within the last year and at first we were really floored at its strength and brashness, and it became a go-to red for a while. However, by the time we cracked the third bottle, it tasted like the smell of an electrical fire—very odd.

So I was a little skeptical to open this particular Rioja and delighted to find it similar to one of the Cotes du Rhone blends I love—big, bold and earthy, yet smooth, round, and balanced, and with a bouquet and taste of violets, spice, and just enough oak. I LOVE the floral wines, and to have the taste match the beautiful nose is a rare treat, like watching an elegant and honest tango.

I’ve come to greatly appreciate blends—they’re, well, less one-dimensional (and often less shrill) than the one-grape varietals. This Rioja is made from Tempranillo, Graciano, and Mazuelo grapes.

So far, this is my second-favorite wine of the year. A great wine at a great price, it retails @19.95/bottle but can be found online for as little as $12.95.

WHAT OTHER REVIEWERS HAVE TO SAY:

ROBERT PARKER: “The 2005 Reserva is medium purple-colored with an excellent nose of cedar, Asian spices, violets, balsamic, and black cherry. Dense and layered on the palate, it is a powerful offering from an excellent vintage that will benefit from another 5-7 years of cellaring and which should drink well through 2030. It is a great value as well as an ideal introduction to traditional Rioja.”

INTERNATIONAL WINE CELLAR: “Bright ruby-red. Complex, aromatic bouquet of red berries, dried cherry, sassafras, tobacco and cedary oak. On the palate, dark fruits are joined by mounting vanilla and oak spice character. Packs a solid punch and finishes with very good spicy persistence.”

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5 Responses to EXQUISITE: Herederos del Marques de Riscal Rioja Reserva, 2005. Retails for $19.95, available online for as little as $12.95.

  1. Bud says:

    Purchased a bottle recently at the recommendation of the Adirondack Wine Merchants in Queensbury, NY. I opened it at a dinner party blind, and it dissappeared almost immediately to a chorus of appreciative mouth noises – mostly “Mmmmmm”! Beautiful! I found your website having just pulled the empty bottle off of the counter to do some research in hope of confirming my impression that the bottle represents an excellent wine value. And thinking myself to be a frugel wine snob, I have marked your page as a favorite. See you again soon!

  2. Juan C. Diaz says:

    A dear friend of mine gave me a bottle for my birthday. My wife and I had it while on a getaway weekend in Atlantic City, NJ & we loved it right away. Very smooth & elegant.
    We were in Paris a few months ago and friends recommended different french wines from different regions. Needless to say, we tried a lot of wines. We are not wine experts, but we know a good wine and in our opinnion this is up there with the very good wines. I have since bought more bottles of this wine which I compare to some really good Bordeaux. We highly recommended it!!

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