Marqués de Riscal was founded in 1858. Based in the town of Elciego, in the Rioja region of Spain, it is one of the oldest Rioja wineries. In addition to the red wines produced out of Rioja, the winery has expanded to the Rueda area where they produce white wines.
The 2001 Marqués de Riscal Gran Reserva was a red blend consisting of Tempranillo, Graciano, and Mazuelo (Carignan). The wine was aged in American oak for 32 months and spent an additional 3 years aging in the bottle prior to release (The great thing about Spanish wines is that the wineries age the wine for you.). The label listed ABV was 14%.
The first wines I ever drank came from Rioja. Over the years, I had tried Marqués de Riscal Reserva, but I had never tasted the Gran Reserva until I attended the Wine Spectator Grand Tour in New York City in May of 2012. The Gran Reserva was delicious that night. Unfortunately, the evening was not conducive to note taking.
I was pleasantly surprised when I found the Gran Reserva in stock at a local beverage store.
Prior to tasting, the wine was decanted for 2 hours.
The prominent aromas were black fruit and oak with a hint of clove in the background. I tend to like big, oaky reds, so, for me, this was a very inviting glass of wine.
As I took a sip, I found black fruit, pepper, vanilla, and butterscotch. The tannins were ultra-mellow. I would describe the texture as velvety. There was depth to this wine, but it all came together nicely. There was so much more to it than the Reserva I had tasted in prior years (Prior to release, Rioja Gran Reservas are aged for a longer period than Reservas. It makes a big difference.). This was one delicious Rioja.
The finish was moderately long, with black fruit, leather, and pepper all lingering.
The 2001 Marqués de Riscal Gran Reserva cost me $43. At that price, this wine offers significant value. Keep in mind, if you don’t like oak, you won’t care for this wine. The Reserva retails for about $20, but it is not as good as the Gran Reserva and I would actually steer you away from it. I hope you get to try the Gran Reserva.