Classic European age-worthy wines are in high demand.
When they are in flawless, maturing condition, where you get everything in amazing balance in a bottle that has been quietly maturing for nearly twenty years, people should sit up and take notice.
This is one such wine.
It is simply brilliant. Elegant and soft, easy and refined yet complex and generous; this is a simple reminder that in some parts of the wine world there are producers who still release their wines when they think it is right for them to be consumed.
It's not to say that the 1998 is better, it is simply different. Both wines are Reserva Especial and both released when the family think they should be consumed as expression of their terroir.
This is really exciting to experience! Even more so, perhaps, when it is not one of the more famous or lauded wineries, but a small, family-run, traditional concern, that make wines for sheer drinking pleasure, representing the past, present and future of timeless class.
This is very much a winery for which we have fallen: not only does this vintage transport us back to the year of the one and only harvest that The Allotment worked in France, it is a wine that impresses the virtues of care, time and respect for traditions. The condition of this stuff is sensational - the fruit is present and correct with strawberry, blackberry and summer fruits pudding; the spices are integrated, interesting and seductive, while the tannins give a sense of come structure giving way to a gorgeous plateau. It is complex beyond belief and for that value for money? Only the bottle that is eight years older, from the same vineyard, comes close.
This is European wine that is fully mature and if it had come from a more famous producer, or from Bordeaux or Burgundy, we wouldn't be able to afford it.
This is one of the rare occasions where quality and scarcity are available to mere mortals and at a price that we think is pretty bang-on.
Not in endless supply, but there should be enough for everyone to try it!
The Urbina winery was established in 1870 by Salvador Urbina and it is now run by the fourth generation Urbinas stillin the town of Cuzcurrita del Río Tirón. Blessed with the foresight to farm organically, they are also in possession of a famed single vineyard, Valle del Ángel. They vinify using indigenous and spontaneous yeasts, before aging the wine in American and French oak barrels for two years. This particular vintage then rests for over twenty years in the winery. For this, their Reserve Especial, they claim "harmony and balance" with "no edge". We agree.
Region: Rioja Alta
Grape(s): Tempranillo, Graciano
Style: Svelte, Soft, Smooth, Silky, Pure, Profound, Perfumed, Organic, Medium Full, Meditation, Iconic, Fruity, Fresh, Elegant, Complex, Bright, Balanced
Best food matches: Wild Boar, Warm Salads, Venison, Veal, Steak, St Stephen's Day, Soft Cheeses, Sausages, Salads, Roasts, Red Meats, Poultry, Mature Cheeses, Lamb, Hard Cheeses, Grills, Grilled Vegetables, Game, Fine Dining, Duck, Christmas Dinner, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Beef