The 2005 109 Gran Reserva is old vine, head-pruned Xarello with 10% Chardonnay kept in bottle with the lees for no less than 109 months until it is released, but the 'sur lie' can be much longer—in fact, until you decide to pull the cork, as the bottles are sold without being disgorged. It's therefore cloudy and full of lees (depending on how much you shake the bottle!), which help prevent oxidation in the wine and continue evolving in the bottle. I have been greatly impressed with this bottling in the past and was very much looking forward to this 2005, which revealed a complex and smoky nose full of leesy aromas of baked bread and brioche, but keeping some fennel and white flower notes in the background; it developed more camphor and balsamic aromas as the wine sat in the glass. It has good volume and length supported by a solid spine of acidity. The bubbles, given the long time in bottle, are small and quite integrated, providing texture and amplifying aromas and flavors. There is good complexity and a sharp, mineral finish. I've tasted older vintages and they develop nicely in bottle. I think this is just a tad below the lovely 2004, just a notch more linearity. (LG) 93+
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