Spain’s Rioja region’s red wines are usually a blend of Tempranillo with other grapes from the same region, Tempranillo being the bigger contributor in the blend. Tempranillo, on its own, does not have the acidity to make a great wine, a feature well complemented by blending it with Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano. Tempranillo, at about 60%, contributes the main flavors and aging potential to the Bordón Gran Reserva 2001; Garnacha at nearly 20% adds body and alcohol; Mazuelo adds seasoning flavors and Graciano adds additional aromas.
The Spaniards have a knack for leaving a little bit of rusticity to their wines, quite unlike the French. It shows rather prominently with Riojas, with the slight edge on the tannins and acidity and sometimes a rather liberal hint of minerals. The Bordón Gran Reserva 2001, as the name suggests and per the official classifications, is aged for at least two years in oak barrels and another three years in the bottle. If the wine has not been through that much aging, it cannot be classified as a Gran Reserva. Needless to say, the Gran Reserva is not produced every year.
Talking of the Bordón Gran Reserva 2001, if you find a bottle of this one, consume it immediately as it is at its peak. The maximum you can do is save it up till early to mid 2013. The dark cherry red color bordering on brown with orange hues at the rim is a delight to look at. Twirl the glass a bit and the long nose presents a ripe and well rounded bouquet of vanilla, toasted oak, sweet tobacco, lavender and nutmeg finishing off with remnants of a leathery aroma which is rather typical of a Spanish produce from the North. The smooth, well balanced acidity leaves undertones of black currant, cherries, nutmeg, a hint of coffee, black pepper, olives and honey finishing strong with a dash of rosemary and that trademark hint of rustic tannins at the end that are so pleasant to the senses.
Now, wild lavender is an aroma that only a nose exposed to it previously can discern. Not that it is impossible to make out from a bouquet, but it doesn’t make it’s presence felt easily. I tasted again on two different occasions, well worth the time spent each time. What can I say? I like my wines just like my women; complex and exotic.
Of course, there are things that appeal and those that don’t appeal to your senses. No need to beat yourself down for that. Yes, the experts who make a living at telling you what’s a good wine and what’s not are right about that stuff stored within cellar walls, but that does not translate into what appeals to your senses. So, take that leap of faith and open up another bottle till you find ones that you want to drink often, just like I find mine.