This is a beautiful wine that happens to be a Reserva and just happens to be from Rioja. At some stage, we have to call it how it is: this is just gorgeous and when it's this tasty, it seems like it doesn't matter where it's from... Smooth, round, soft and balanced with freshness, this is never too heavy and never too light: the perfect Rioja and the perfect red wine.
The wine is aged in new French and American oak barrels for an average of 22 months, with a minimum of 18 months in bottle afterwards. Such is the focus on quality here, that they exceed the minimum storage requirements for Rioja. They are going longer without being paid, because their focus is on making sure that their wine is as good as it can be, and that when you taste it, you're tasting all this effort and patience in the flavours.
Viña Real is made from grapes grown in the Rioja Alavesa subregion. This is a farming area where farming is almost exclusively dedicated to growing grapes. And it has been this way for generations. These are sourced from Viña Real's own vineyards in Laguardia as well as from neighbouring farmers in Rioja Alavesa who have supplied them for many years. A great example of sustainable farming, collaboration and partnership that will enable the winery to grow and continue production even in the face of climatic challenges.
In this wine, the blend is 90% Tempranillo with the remaining 10% Garnacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano.
The Vina Real winery building is very new and very modern. It is situated on the top of a hill and is then dug into the hill by at least fifty metres. Grapes arrive at the top of the hill and are hoisted above the crushing tanks, from where the juices flow to the fermenting vessels below and from there to the aging barrels in the caves underground. Except for the lighting, there is no electricity used in the winemaking process in the entire building - no pumps, no churning, nothing. This sustainable approach is part of the gentle and elegant style that the winery achieves in its wines and was unique in Rioja when the winery was built (it's now THE template for new wineries in the region!)
Viña Real Reserva wines stand out for having the unmistakable stamp of the unique Rioja Alavesa terroir. The wines there tend to have more elegance and a greater level of acidity than Rioja Alta. This can be kept for another 5-10 years, easily. Great body, structure and aromatic intensity, with a delicious fruit-filled palate nuanced by a subtle and balanced presence of oak.
Critically acclaimed too, with 94 points from Tim Atkin, 94 from James Suckling, and 93 from Robert Parker.
Grape(s): Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Graciano, Garnacha
Style: Svelte, Soft, Smooth, Silky, Pure, Perfumed, Medium, Juicy, Fleshy, Elegant, Complex, Bright
Best food matches: Roasts, Red Meats, Mature Cheeses, Charcuterie