Viña Real Gran Reserva 1991
Grape varieties: Graciano, Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Garnacha
Geographical Origin: D.O. Rioja
Producer: Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CUNE)
On opening this Viña Real, the first impression is that it needs a good decant. Cedar wood and cigar box dominate on an initial sniff – a typical indicator of classical Rioja. Fruit is itching to get out from behind; time and air will facilitate the process.
A Gran Reserva that might be over twenty years old, it still shows a dark core with only slight bricking at the edge. In other words, it’s here for the long haul. Following the afore-mentioned decant, an elegant, dagger-like thrust of ethereal fruit emerges. Never a mouth-filling fruit bomb, its tart purity dances over the tongue.
This is high-class stuff, layer upon layer of complexity building on the palate. There are hints of orange peel and savoury, meaty notes of beef stock, all combined with grippy tannins that just beg for a steak alongside. As for the length, well I can still taste it a couple of days later!
The 1991 vintage is obviously slap-bang in the middle of its drinking window, although that window’s going to be open for a fair time yet, say 30 years! If you can’t wait so long, it’s terrific right now.