Marques de Riscal Rioja Gran Reserva 2008 and 2011

Both vintages give aromas of sun-dried fruit combine with hints of vanilla on the nose. And, flavours of plum, berry and cassis are clean, while the finish shows some richness via molasses and oaky notes. The palates follow the nose's lead with medium weight and traditional acidity. Like the sold-out 2012 vintage, the finish for both 2008 and 2011 is classic enough: sweet and savoury sensations fill the mouth, leaving behind a touch of caramel and wild cherries on the finish. Both vintages give nice tertiary from bottle-ageing. Of course 2008 gives even more.

2008 is the more elegant of the two. So, the body is medium; the finish is dry, hay-like. There are fresh aromas of red fruits come across crisp and racy—definitely from a more cooling, ripening process and an elegant wines as a result. A more intense Gran Reserva, 2011 vintage is awarded one of the best scores of the last 30 years, officially rating it as 'excellent' – a rating given to just eight wines since 1981.

Winery information as follows. To make their Gran Reserva wines, Riscal use grapes from vines over 80 years old, from their own estate vineyards and bought in from associated local growers. Once the wine destined to become a Gran Reserva has been selected, following the coupage of the wines of the new vintage, it is put into American oak casks where it will age for between two and a half and three years. This is followed by a furtherminimum of three years bottle ageing before release for sale. ABV is 14 to 15%.

Scores. 2008 is 91 Falstaff, DD92; 2011 94Peninm 92Js and 91WW. Can keep for 2 to 5 years.

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