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by Fred McMillin
Better and Better
"Spain's best red wines come from the hills of the Rioja district in the north...Many take half a dozen years to develop and continue to be remarkable twenty years after the vintage."
...William Massee Wines and Spirits
"Rioja winemakers gave the 1994 their highest praise. Some claim it to be the best Rioja vintage in twenty years."
...Frank Prial, New York Times
"A word that sums up the new generation of Rioja wines, including the 1994, is 'consistency'. If, like us, you are eager to avoid clunkers, it is comforting to know [there are producers like] Domecq's Marques de Arienzo."
...Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast
The Rest of the Story
My lucky tasters have checked both the $10 Crianza and the $15 Reserva 1994 Arienzo Riojas. (The Reservas are more expensive; Spanish wine law requires longer aging.)
"Crianza" means aged in oak. For years, for the American palate, it meant TOO MUCH OAK. So, to increase exports, not so long ago oak (American, not French) contact was reduced. That's what Michael Schachner meant by the "new generation" of Rioja wines.
We've seen the taming of the oak, My old columns go back to the 1980, 1981 and 1983. Arienzo vintages. They did not score nearly as well as the '94 Crianza, as reported in the May 5, 1999 WineDay.
The 1994 Reserva
This is our Wine of the Day, which I held in my cellar until it was wrapped (to conceal the identity) and poured in my latest tasting.
1994 Rioja Reserva by Marques de Arienzo
When I was in Old Madrid, a Rioja was poured with their celebrated roast suckling pig at the Casa Botin restaurant. What has the Casa Botin got to do with the illustrious Spanish House of Domecq? Both were founded in 1725! (Menu cover with suckling pig pictured.)
10/24/00—Yessir! A Best Ever!
10/23/00—Did the Experiment Work?
10/20/00—Pinot in Piedmont??
10/19/00—Mugged by McPherson
10/18/00—Wizard of the Pinot
10/17/00—The Valley That Couldn't
10/16/00—Down Under A Chardonnay Shock
10/13/00—The English Rothschilds
10/12/00—Columbus Lands in the Bahamas
10/10/00—Our Best Blanc
10/09/00—A Knight Delight
10/06/00—An Act of Faith
10/05/00—EXTRA! EXTRA! World Series Winnah!!
10/04/00—Field Stone Makes Way For Chardonnay
10/03/00—Big Wine, Small Price
This page created October 2000