If you haven’t discovered Rioja, or haven’t turned to it in a while, this exquisite example of Spain’s most famous wine is sure to rope you in.
Rioja wines, named for the eponymous region in northeast Spain, are produced from both red and white grapes — with Tempranillo the main red variety and Viura the principal white grape. Both are capable of long aging.
And that brings us to Baron de Ley’s 2014 Rioja Gran Reserva. The region has strict aging requirements for its wines, and the “gran reserva” designation requires the longest time in barrel and bottle before release.
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Baron de Ley’s Gran Reserva is aged for a minimum of 24 months in American and French oak casks and another 36 months in bottle. This relatively long, built-in aging process is part of what makes Rioja gran reservas, including this one, so appealing.
Hence, in the 2014 Baron de Ley Gran Reserva, you’re getting a wine that has evolved for seven years, showcasing its complexity and elegance. And at $30, it’s a real value — just try finding a Bordeaux of this caliber at that price.
This delicious wine, supported by refreshing acidity, offers concentrated tastes of blackberries, red and black currants, and dried fruits — along with herb, olive, and cedar notes. The wood influence is considerable at this point, which I found to be more of an asset than a liability.
This is a rich and interesting wine that’s made for hearty foods — stews, roasts, game, and the like. It makes the case for renewed interest in Rioja, one of the world’s top wine regions, with values that are unparalleled.