The days are noticeably shorter and the nights are becoming long and cold. For the last week or so, I have been driving to work and returning home in the dark without even working any extra hours. Yes, winter is here! All of these short days, long nights, and low temperatures have put me in the mood for a savory stew, laden with meat and root-vegetables, and served with a rich red wine such as Viña Alberdi Rioja Reserva, 2010, from La Rioja Alta.
La Rioja Alta is a highly-regarded winery which began production in 1890. In her 1008-page compendium of wine knowledge, Wine Bible, Karen MacNeil listed this bodega as one of the region’s finest producers.
Viña Alberdi Riserva is made from 100% Tempranillo grapes grown during an exceptionally good vintage in Rioja. It was aged in American oak barrels for two years; the first year in new barrels and the second in barrels which had an average age of three years. This beauty is deep garnet in hue, with great clarity. The nose opens with dark cherry, red currant, plum, black pepper, some licorice, and a hint of vanilla. These aromas carry through to the pallet, with good tannic structure and tart acidity. The body is medium-to-full, with a fairly long finish, while the alcohol content is a mere 13.5% by volume.
At $19.99 per bottle, Viña Alberdi Rioja Reserva is a great wine. It is reasonable enough that it can be consumed over a good week-night dinner, yet it is high enough in quality that even the pickiest wine drinkers will have difficulty finding fault with it. James Suckling gave it a score of 95 points and referred to it as being “very finely crafted.” Likewise, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate gave this wine a score of 91 points and called it “delicious.” You can find out for yourself as we currently have a good supply on-hand at O’Bryan’s Wine and Spirits.
I sincerely hope that all of you have a blessed holiday season.