Urbina Reserva Especial 2006 has exquisite and complex aromas of black fruit, leather and cigar box. These lead you into layers of silky blackberry, with a hint of strawberry, fruit flavours that have been aged to perfection. It has an elegance and freshness with delicious ripe berry concentration and perfectly integrated oak. Tim Atkin MW in his special Rioja reports over four years (2019 – 2022) has named Urbina Reserva Especial 2006 as one of his Rioja Reservas of the Year giving it 96/100 points; this must be something of a record.
This wine is on a par with a top Gran Reserva; a wine of great finesse, velvet smoothness and wondrous length. It has good structure, with some firm tannins in the background which mean that it will last. However, if you want to enjoy a mature, special Rioja Reserva now, without cellaring it, this is an excellent choice which represents terrific value.
This wine comes from a family-owned, Single Estate, around the village of Cuzcurrita, situated in the north-west point area of Rioja Alta and therefore at the limit of vine production. Here the climate is influenced by the cooler Atlantic weather systems which results in a longer, more gradual ripening period and grapes that tend to show freshness, structure and intensity. The magic of this area is that it makes wines that are amongst some of the longest lived in Rioja. Bodegas Urbina is run by Pedro (Senior) and his two sons Pedro and Angel Benito Urbino.
Their 75 hectares of vineyards, mostly planted with Tempranillo, have been carefully nurtured by the family for four generations and they use organic fertilisers, indigenous yeasts and avoid the use of weedkillers and pesticides. The vines are grown mainly in the bush form and yields are kept low. The grapes for this wine come from 40+ year old vines and are hand-harvested and selected. It has spent 24 months in American and French oak barrels before 48 months in bottle in the Bodega. Only 66,000 bottles of this wine are produced.
Everything about this bodega centres around ageing. After picking, the grapes are fermented slowly in stainless steel, then aged extensively in a mixture of American (75%) and French (25%) barrels. After ageing in oak, the wines are held in tank which retains a lift and freshness in the wines (rarely seen for this traditional style of Rioja). Pedro Benito Urbina makes a range of wines, mostly red, right across the quality spectrum from Crianza to Gran Reserva. He releases his wines when they are ready to drink and fully mature. They represent the essence of classic Rioja: stylistically they rest their quality on finesse, complexity and savoury flavours, rather than power.
“If you love mature, traditionally made Rioja, this will put a smile on your face and a song on your lips. Made from Tempranillo plus 5% Graciano and Mazuelo, it has the freshness and elegance that you’d expect from the cooler Cuzcurrita zone, spicy French and American oak, fine grained tannins and palate-caressing strawberry sweetness.”
96 Points: Drink 2019 – 2026 – Tim Atkin MW Special Rioja Report 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.
“Classic Rioja style, with lots of vanilla from the oak. Dried fruit and and a hint of chocolate. Quite easy-going. A must for lovers of old-style Rioja. Drink 2021 – 2031.” 94 Points: Highly Recommended “The Wines that made Rioja Famous” Decanter Magazine Rioja Guide 2022.
This wine really stood out at the Tasting of 100 of Wines from Spain Awards 2019 when it was alongside many other fine Reservas and Gran Reservas. It shows no sign of ageing with the fruit in perfect balance and we note that Tim Atkin MW has given this wine the same score in his Rioja Reports for 4 consecutive years.
Sells in a few independent wine merchants £22.25 – £24.75 – check out our competitive price!
Food match: Roast meats, especially lamb. It will also be good with lighter meats and cheeses. Fantastic dinner party wine and a real treat!