A good Crianza is enough to make you cry tears of joy.
Wait. That’s what it means, isn’t it? Crianza?
Sold to me as an example of the “new wave” of Rioja, it didn’t vary enormously from the old wave, as far as I could tell. If anything, it was bigger and carried more fruit but none of that was out of context, or, for that matter, balance.
When a guy asked me why I enjoyed it so much, I figured to baffle him with wine words. Dark fruit balsamic, I said. A silence. Hey, he said, I get it.
On the cusp of bluffing, I realized that I’d accidentally found the critical quality of this thing. Temperanillo, mildly aged, but before that made with an eye to upping the volume for – probably – American palates. So much so that it’s easy to compare to the most recent Reserva I’d drunk, which must mean something.
The late seventies and early eighties were the upslope and downslope of the musical new wave. Screw those noisesome faux rebels; bring on the Spanish wine new wave.
Let’s quote from the bottle:
This wine has been produced following the very old tradition of “Ripasso” method. The wine, obtained from the fresh grapes pressed during the mongth of October, is passed on the pomaces of Amarone dried grapes crushed in the following month of March. Deep and intense ruby red color. On the nose it displays very particular and enjoyable candied fruit hints, with elegant scent of spices and cinnamon. The taste is warm, smooth, velveted enveloping pleasant flavours of ripe cherry on the palate. Serve with game, red meat and aged cheeses at 18 – 20 degrees C”
Yep. This too.
Another hint on the nose is the distinctive raisin character typical of the upper end of the valopolicella pyramid; it’s enticing, mysterious and demonstrates yet again the immense variation between wine.
What the notes do not mention is the finish. Evidence of oak asserts itself here along with a cooked cherry thread, which makes the glass just that much more seductive. It works as both a wine for food and for aperitif purposes. I use the word bandwidth to indicate the amount of complexity and depth, this wine being a case in point of deftly handled big bandwidth.