A Small Collection of Old Riojas

We just received a small collection of old Riojas from Spain. All of the bottles have at least several decades of age and are ready to drink now. Mature Rioja wines offer reliable pleasure through generous, shimmering Tempranillo fruit and textural depth, frequently at more affordable prices than other great European wines with comparable age.

Traditional local winemaking in Rioja favored rustic young reds known as vino de cosechero, made with the stems and a sort of carbonic maceration in stone lagares and cement tanks until the 1850s-60s. It was during this time that the two great Marquéses - Luciano Murrieta y García-Lemoine (Marqués de Murrieta) and Camilo Hurtado de Amézaga (Marqués de Riscal de Alegre) - initiated the shift to Bordeaux-inspired methods following stints in France. Not long after, French merchants and growers descended upon Rioja from oidium- and phylloxera-stricken Bordeaux, in search of a new, consistent supply of quality grapes and wine.

Fermentation in large wooden vats (and sometimes stainless steel), gentle extraction, and long aging in small barrels of American oak would come to define the style of Rioja now considered classic. We are always on the lookout for bottles from the 1960s and 1970s, the end of a golden era, before quality was corrupted by industrial farming and the race for higher yields.

In addition to famous favorites like Lopez de Heredia, Riojanas, and Marqués de Murrieta, we are happy to feature lesser-known bodegas like Bilbainas, Franco-Espanolas, and Palacio, who produced classic, age-worthy wines of integrity during this era.

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