Martinez Lacuesta, 2004 Crianza Rioja ($15) 88 This Crianza, a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano, and Mazuelo, spends 18 months in new American oak and further time in the bottle. It is deep ruby garnet in color and offers aromas of blackberry compote, black cherry and a chocolate note. It has a full-flavored attack of dark plum and black cherry fruit followed by soft ripe tannins and a persistent finish.
Martinez Lacuesta, 2001 Reserva Rioja ($24) 91 The 2001 Reserva, also a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo, is medium-dark garnet in color with traditional, smoky, meaty aromas. Having spent 24 months in American oak and more time in the bottle, it is soft and round on the attack with notes of dried fruit. sandalwood, leather and earth. Nicely balanced with soft round tannins. A well made wine from a great vintage.
Bodegas Martinez Laorden 2006 El Talud Rioja ($15) 87 The El Talud is a straight forward tasty wine offering fresh raspberry/boysenberry fruit on the nose followed by pure ripe red fruit on the palate with round tannins and a long finish. An easy drinking wine.
Bodegas Martinez Laorden 2004 La Orbe Rioja ($22) 88 La Orbe offers fresh aromas of red berries and oak with a touch of earth. It is soft and round on the attack with red fruit flavors and vanilla on the palate. Well made and delicious. Importer: Grapes of Spain. Lorton, VA
H Bodegas Medrano Irazu is a small winery established in 1984 by winegrowers in La Rioja Alavesa. They source grapes from their own 30 ha vineyard which includes low- yielding old vines and 120 ha of neighboring vineyards. The wines are well-made and classical in style. Importer: P.R. Grisley Co. Salt Lake Cit , Utah
Medrano Irazu 2004 Crianza ($18) 89 The youthful 2004 Crianza is dark ruby purple in color and offers complex aromas of pure black fruit, cigar box, forest floor and a dusting of cocoa. On the attack it is soft and lush revealing flavorful ripe black fruit with rounded tannins and a longlastingfinish.Verygoodnowandshouldimprovewithage.
Medrano Irazu 2001 Reserva Rioja ($22) 91 This is a lovely Reserva with a deep garnet core and an orange brick rim. It is classical Rioja with an earthy, dusty, smoked meat character, combining sweet dried fruit flavors, slightly dried tannins and a long lasting palate. Very well done.
Bodegas Miguel Merino 2000 Reserva Rioja ($45) 87 Deep garnet, brick rim, dried cherry and plum with nicely integrated cedar aromas. Soft on the attack, with a ripe cherry and oaky mid-palate along with notes of leather and
dry tannins. Textbook classical Rioja. Wine Imports Dover, NJ
Montebuena 2006 Red Wine Rioja ($13) 87 This wine produced by Bodegas Labastida exhibits a deep ruby color with ripe fruit forward blackberry aromas and lovely oak notes. Soft on the attack followed by dark red fruits, pepper, ripe tannins, good acidity and a tart finish.
An excellent value. Winchester, VA
Importer: Kysela Pere et Fils, Ltd
H Bodegas Montecillo is currently owned by sherry produce , Osborne. It owns no vineyards and buys grapes from other growers. Winemaking is under the direction of veteran winemake , Maria Martinez. The wines are classical Rioja in style and offered at attractive prices. Importer: W.J. Deutsch & Sons, White Plains, NY
Montecillo 2002 Reserva Rioja ($21) 87 The 2002 Reserva displays a deep garnet color with aromas of black cherry, smoke, leather, roasted meat and charred oak. On the palate, it offers a soft attack of dried cherry fruit, round tannins and a rather long and dry finish.
Montecillo 2001 Gran Reserva Rioja ($28) 88 This Gran Reserva offers dried fruit aromas with earth notes followed by a soft attack of black fruit, with notes of loam, cigar box, and charred oak. Soft tannins with light fruit and a very dry finish.
Montecillo 1994 Anniversario 130 Gran Reserva Rioja ($35) 89 Released for Bodegas Montecillo’s 130th anniversary. Opaque garnet with a brick rim, this Gran Reserva offers
complex aromas of dried
fruit, earth, leather and spice reveals a dry attack of raisiny
fruit, old attractive
leather and musty notes with a long finish. An wine for those who like the Gran Reserva style.
H Bodegas Muga is a family winery in Rioja Alta founded in 1932 by Isaac Muga. Toda , Muga is making some of the finest wines in Rioja and is an exemplary Rioja winery. Muga
wines are both classical and new wave in style. It
sources than 50
neighboring growers. Muga’s wines are fruit balanced, nuanced, and a pleasure to drink.
rich, beautifully Noteworthy are
the Prado Enea Gran Reserva, that typify Muga’s commitment authentic Rioja wines.
Torre Muga and Aro, wines to producing new wave but
Muga 2004 Reserva Rioja ($25) 88 The Reserva displays a dark ruby garnet color and earthy aromas with notes of leather, tar and spice. On the palate it reveals some black cherry fruit, but the emphasis here is on earthiness and tar, not fruit. The wine is aged for two years in 2-year old oak, 60% American and 40% French. Tannins are still somewhat astringent, but should soften in time.
Muga 2005 Torre Muga Rioja ($75) 94 Torrre Muga is a blend of 75% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo, and 10% Gracianco. It is sourced from high altitude old vineyards and aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak. (Allier) Dark ruby in color, it exhibits black fruit and earth aromas followed by a soft attack of pure blackberry fruit and a complex layered mouth feel. (contributed by the Mazuelo and Graciano). Tannins are round and soft and the finish is long lasting. Terrific purity of flavor.
Muga 2005 Aro Rioja ($175) 96 Aro is Muga’s top of the line new wave cuvée, a blend of