Dominio de Ugarte Rioja Reserva 2003 is a critically acclaimed (91pts-Parker) red from a 130 hectare vineyard in Rioja Alavesa in Spain. That property was purchased by the Ugarte wine making concern in 1957 to complement vineyard holdings begun in 1870. We blogged about Rioja in four installments between May 3rd and June 29th of 2011 if you want to learn more about the finest wine region of Spain. We also did a post called "Dirty, Foul, and Proper" at that time which is how one of my vendors described old world Spanish reds. That description works well with this one. The sixth generation of the Ugarte family currently operates the business. The wine is 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano and sourced from old vines, some of which exceed a hundred years of age.
From the winery website we learn there was a maceration period in '03 of eighteen days for this wine followed by six days of fermentation. The maximum temperature at any time was 29 degrees centigrade with a malolactic fermentation occurring naturally in the tank. Barrel aging was done in French and American oak and lasted twenty months. By definition, this is a modern era effort.
Tasting notes from the website: On the palate you have red fruits, primarily intense Garnet cherry, balanced with powerful ripe tannins. The nose has "wide ranging aromas including an excellent integration of the barrel with the very expressive fruit". I would also note that the wine's medium body is perhaps a compromise between the traditional lighter style and the fuller modern style.
It is now 2013 and the development of this wine is complete. A couple years ago we sold this one for $25/btl and it did well. Now the price is less than half of that and presents an opportunity for aficionados and the curious to enjoy this one with an appropriately spiced red meat meal. This is not cocktail wine. As fine wine, this one also benefits from decanting and will improve in the glass.
We are also offering a Syrah/Tempranillo blend and a varietal Cabernet Sauvignon from the same people under the "Mercedes Eguren" label at a $10 retail. These are also strictly dinner wines.
Please join us Friday August 2nd between 5 and 7pm as we explore new world wines including a great one from Januik of Columbia Valley in Washington State amongst others. Please become a "follower" here also so I can impress people with my notoriety.