Image:Rioja 1998: better then expected !
How often do you get invited to a tasting of 10 year old Spanish Rioja's ? When Michiel (visit Vinotopia) told me he had 24 Rioja's to evaluate, I was thrilled to be part of it.

Some wines tend to (or are known to) get better by age. Most wines however are made to be drunk young, and don't age graciously. Don't always believe the label telling you the wine can age 5 years or more.
These are some of the conditions to be met to have aging-capable wines:
  • correct varietal (tannines)
  • grapes grown under the right circumstances (terroir)
  • harvest at exactly the right time (acids and alcohol)
  • the wine made technically perfect
  • maturing, handling and storing in optimal conditions

Expectations for these 10-year oldies (1998 !) were rather low, and yet the average quality was astounding. Almost none of them had oxidation (the cause of 'death' for most (too) old wines). A few even were considered young. Unfortunately 3 bottles were corked.
All wines were tasted blind and points were given before revealing the bottle itself.
Image:Rioja 1998: better then expected ! Image:Rioja 1998: better then expected !
These where excellent:
  • Vina Ardanza, Reserva
  • Muga Reserva
  • Pagos Viejos
But for me, these 2 stood out:
  • Marques de Vargas, Praddagas
  • Roda I, Reserva
    (there was also a Roda II, which disappointed)

Image:Rioja 1998: better then expected !
Our host Michiel gave me a quick tour of his wine-cellar. Quite impressive.
He has a nice application for entering his tasting notes, but doesn't have anything to register the wines he bought.
(Note to self: make a iPhone Wine Cellar application synching with Notes as soon as technically possible)

Image:Rioja 1998: better then expected !
We ended the evening night with a wonderful lamb-bean stew prepared by Christine (thanks), and a couple of excellent (supplementary) bottles.

A memorable evening: many excellent wines, good food,
and above all in good company.

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