Friday, April 13, 2012
That the calendar’s folklorique confluence should coincide with this weekend’s 100th anniversary of the tragic Titanic’s sinking does not bode well for the superstitious kind. If you are one of the many inflicted with paraskevidekatriaphobia then this may not be your favourite day. If you also suffer from oenophobia, I feel for you. My solution? A big, bad, traditional Rioja from the April 14th VINTAGES release for and with supper.
Modern Rioja has its place but rarely speaks of its place. Youngish versions (Crianza and Reserva) often display good balance, treble clef acidity and red cherry fruit but are too often heaped with drying qualities. A second glass is like the towing of a dead barge. I prefer Chianti at this level. The Gran Reserva of Rioja is another animal.
Bodegas Franco-Españolas was founded in 1890. This an outfit of the low and slow fashion. Tempranillo aged in oak barrels for many years before release. No bucking of tradition; stubborn, sure, old-school. Not since the 2001 release of the 1991 Montecillo Gran Reserva at $19 has VINTAGES procured a titanic, complex concentricity of traditional Rioja, vintage and price.
Bodegas Franco-Españolas Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva 2004(114454, $22.95) whiffs salve-scented snuff, “gets you hooked and trifles with your mind.” The spicy cereza blossoms and heads straight south to the heart, followed by a sexy, brown sugar, saxy, Bobby Keyes note. “I’m no schoolboy but I know what I like.” I wouldn’t hesitate to visit this every couple of years up to the age of 15. Much ado about this Rioja from Beppi Crosariol (93), JR-IWC (91), Gord Stimmel (91) and WE (90). A blend of 80% Tempranillo, 16% Grenache, 2% Mazuelo and 2% Graciano. Aged in American oak for 36 months. 13.5% abv. $22.75 at the SAQ. 90
Good to go!