1994 Rioja Gran Reserva Especial, Bodegas Urbina
Urbina notes - Intense, dark ruby with amber glints, powerful, rich, seductive, vegetable/tobacco nose, complex, classy with perfect harmony of oak and glorious fruit, prunes, dates, sweet raisin flavours, silky and creamy on palate with a very long and full finish. A splendid old vintage.
One of the best vintages of the century (compared by many producers with the legendary 1964). The winter was warmer than usual – just what the growers had been looking for, as the vines budded early. April was a crucial month as frost took 10-30% of the buds, slowing down the development in the vineyard. However, the grapes had set well by mid-June – particularly Garnacha and Tempranillo – The summer was good without excessive heat, dry enough to avoid fungal problems and scattered storms provided just enough water for the development of the grapes…. the grapes showed tremendous ripeness, colour and extract. This was a truly great vintage in the making, although (or perhaps because) it was relatively low in quantity.
Urbina are a traditional Rioja house producing wines of great integrity, the estates have been in the family since 1870 and extend to 75 hectares, and the average age of the vines is 50 years old. The house produces wines with lovely fragrance, generally pale in colour (although the 2001 is a whopper), and delicious mature flavours on the strawberry spectrum. Elegant, graceful and juicy – perfect with lamb!