Rioja Gran Reserva Off-the-shelf Maturity

(Wednesday, January 10, 2018) — Reserva, and more especially Gran Reserva, Rioja have a special characteristic that savvy wine lovers appreciate. They are only released after significant aging at the winery. This makes then especially useful when you need an off-the-shelf bottle for immediate drinking that nonetheless has some maturity. Of course the wines can also – and ideally should – be aged further in your cellar. Specifically, Gran Reservas have minimum two years oak aging, followed by three years of bottle age for a total of five. (Reservas are one and two years respectively). Many houses age their wines more than the minimum, up to 10 or even more years. Furthermore, these can often be found at the LCBO, and Rioja is often a good bet on restaurant wine lists.

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We’ve lined up four top producers to showcase the Gran Reserva style for you: Muga, CVNE (four cuvées), Rioja Alta, Marqués de Murrieta.

We referred above to Oak aging. Originally, French Oak was used; but then there was a shift to American Oak (not new barrels though), with its broader vanilla flavoured profile. However the pendulum has again swung back to the subtler French Oak, (and in some cases, a combination!). You can have fun at the tasting deciding which oak has been used in the wines we are pouring.

Many people also distinguish classical or old-style Rioja and “modern” Rioja. Oak variety is an aspect of that as well as other aspects of wine making. Our selections are mostly classic in style, the exceptions being Contino, which is CVNE’s nod to modernity, and Vina Real which is where they hedge their bets. See if you can taste the difference.

All the wines in our tasting were purchased in 2017. The majority of the wines are 7 or 8 years old, with a couple that are 12 and 16 years old, for comparison. We have four cuvees from CVNE, the regular Gran Reserva (2010), as well as Contino (2009 & 2010), Viňa Real (2010) and Imperial (2009). We also have, in the recent release camp, the 2009 Muga Prado Enea. The older wines we are pouring are the 2005 La Rioja Alta 904, and the 2001 Castillo Ygay from Marqués de Murrieta.

As always with our tastings, this event will be strictly non-smoking, and we request your cooperation in not wearing any scented after-shave or perfume. Please don’t drink & drive.

Date: Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Time:  6:45 p.m.
Limit:  88 people
Members: $75*
Guests: $90*
*Price including HST

GST/HST account: 844742619RT0001
Business Name: Winetasters Society of Toronto

Cancellations accepted up to Jan 8th, 2018 — (Jennifer Curran 905-829-4675 evenings). No reservations by phone please. No mail confirmations will be issued — you will be contacted only if we are sold out.  First come basis. Non-members may attend at guest rates, but preference will be given to members.