Thursday, March 26, 2009

Marques de Vitoria: an underrated traditional Rioja's winery

Marques de Vitoria: an underrated traditional Rioja's winery

Along with some of my favorites old school, traditional Rioja's wineries - like La Rioja Alta (Vina Ardanza), Lopez de Heredia (Vina Bosconia and Tondonia), Bodegas Riojanas (Gran Albina), CVNE (Vina Real), Marques de Murrieta (Castillo Ygay), Marques de riscal (Reserva and Gran Reserva) -, Marques de Vitoria is also an old school, traditional Rioja's winery. You don't really hear from it because it is very often underated by the prees and overlooked by most Spanish wine lovers.

However, I think that people should pay a bit more attention to this winery. I used to sell the 2002 Crianza which was a bit light, tannic and restraint but overall smooth, balanced and traditional in style, and, in my opinion, quite good for a 2002 vintage (which wasn't a great vintage for Rioja).

I just tasted their 2004 Crianza and 1996 Gran Reserva (that I carry since last year), and loved them both. Here is what I thought about them:

2004 Marques de Vitoria Crianza Rioja Spain
Suggested retail price $11-$14
Distributed by Vinaio Imports in NYC

Clear, medium intensity, ripe dark berry color. Lovely, very expressive nose boasting aromas of red cherry, floral, spices, slight touch of vanilla-oak, mineral, earthy notes of dirt, liquorice, clove and bitter chocolate. Not as attractive on the palate as on the nose, this wine get better with a bit of swirl in the glass, and really start to open up after a few minutes in the glass. A bit light and not as generous as the nose, at first, the palate started to express itself nicely with a bit of time. It has the same type of flavors in the palate. And despite a touch of dry tannins on the finish, I will say that this wine reveals more of this old school elegance and dryer, earthy finish, rather than the heavily overripe and oaky style from the new world oriented other wineries. Somewhat light and simple but well made for the price; the 2004 vintage surely helped a lot too, to add structure and depth.

1996 Marques de Vitoria Gran Reserva Rioja Spain
Suggested retail price $24-$28
Distributed by Vinaio Imports in NYC

Definitely a classic Rioja! it has an interesting of attracting the surrounding light. Clear, clean, medium(+) intensity for the color, especially for a wine of this age, with old brique orange reflects on the rime and dark ripe berry, dark red-brownish autumn leaf color. The nose exposes interesting notes of dark ripe cherry, pig skin (and fat), leather, forest floor, touch of mushroom and ripe figs, with integrated oaky hints. Already in the attack, it is soft, juicy, with layers of flavors like red ripe berry, figs, liquorice, leather, spice, cloves. Long, balanced, super integrated finish with earthy, dry yet juicy tannin, and a touch of spice. Lovely.


LeDom du Vin

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