Friday, July 31, 2009

Bodegas Ondarre Rioja Reserve 2004

While in Europe, I had the good fortune of buying the 2004 Ondarre Rioja Reserve from Viana, Spain. This historic town, which is the burial spot of Lord Cesar Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI, is located in the heart of the Rioja region. The Ondarre vineyards are strongly influenced by the hot, dry Mediterranean climate. This medium-bodied reserve is a mix of 75% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha and 15% Mazeulo with incredible aromas of fresh-picked blackberries and raspberries along with a handful of spices. On the palate were lush raspberries and cranberries combined with some vanilla. The acidity and tannins were perfect and the flavors never ended. It is aged in French and American oak for 16 months before bottling. This is an exceptional wine, and Rioja's are great food wines! I served it at a dinner in Switzerland with a spice rubbed wood-fired chicken and grilled vegetables and it was the perfect match for the rub. Retails for 13 SwissFrancs. Overall, 2004 was a fantastic vintage for Riojas. It could even be held for another 5 years. I will be on the search for the Ondarre wines in the States.  UPDATE:  Just found this vintage in CT on April 14, 2011.  Wine Spectator has now rated this a 91 point wine and included it in the Top; 100 Wines of 2010.  It was the highest rated Rioja under $15.  This is a must buy!!.

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