This was the first great vintage for Spain's emerging "modern" style, and this wine epitomizes its virtues. Generous, round and polished, with ripe plum and dried fig flavors, balanced by licorice, cigar box, spice and mineral notes that echo on the long finish. The well-integrated tannins are still firm, promising a long road ahead.—Non-blind San Vicente vertical (November 2019). Drink now through 2034. (TM)
The dense garnet-colored 1994 Rioja, which will be released in several months, appears to have a 10-12 year plateau of drinkability. The extraordinary aromatics consist of ripe, jammy fruits intermixed with smoke, cedar, tobacco, and spice. Admirable lushness and elegance that are suave and refined, supple tannin, and layers of richness yet an overall restraint, make me wonder if this is not a Rioja made in the image of a Chateau Margaux, where richness is combined with elegance. Interestingly, the owners refused to declare any wine in the difficult Rioja vintages of 1992 and 1993. This winery should be followed closely, as the seamless, complex, enthralling 1991s and 1994s evidence. This single-vineyard, luxury Rioja is the brainchild of the Eguren family. The 45-acre vineyard possesses much denser vine spacing than most Rioja vineyards (about 4500 vines per hectare), and is planted at a high altitude of nearly 1600 feet. Although made from young vines (12 years), the wine is given at least 30 days of maceration, aged for 20 months in American oak barrels, and bottled without filtration. Less than 1000 cases were made of the 1991, but in 1994, the winery was in full production and produced just over 6000 cases. This looks to be one of the more stunning, newer-styled Riojas to emerge from Spain. Readers should take note, as I suspect prices will only go up. (RP)
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