95 Points: Outstanding – Decanter Rioja Guide 2023, 95 Points: Outstanding – Sarah Jane Evans MW Top 20 Rioja Gran Reservas Decanter
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Organic practices, Vegan
Urbina Gran Reserva Especial 2004 has replaced the Gran Reserva 2004 from this Bodega. It is a wonderfully mature Rioja which seduces you immediately with its very attractive, complex aromas of black fruit, leather and cedary oak. These lead you into layers of rich, savoury blackcurrant and berry fruit flavours that are in complete harmonious balance with oak. This is a wine of great finesse, velvet smoothness and wondrous length. Sarah Jane Evans MW has described this as “glorious” and drinking well to 2033! Decanter Magazine reviews have judged Urbina Gran Reserva Especial 2004 as Outstanding with 95 points; see the reviews below.
It has excellent structure, with some fine tannins and acidity in the background which mean that it will last. However, If you want to enjoy a mature Rioja Gran Reserva now, without cellaring it, this is an excellent choice which represents excellent value for such a mature wine from a top Rioja vintage.
Urbina makes wines with great ageing capacity, only releasing them when ready. This Gran Reserva Especial is made from the winery’s best Tempranillo grapes (with a small amount of Graciano and Mazuelo). It is aged for 24 months in 225 litre barrels followed by 4 years in the bottle.
“To be frank the label design of this bottle is not particularly ‘especial’ but don’t delay. for inside the wine is glorious. Rioja lovers will savour its dense fruit, the notes of oranges in the bright acidity and the fine tannins interwoven with American oak. Very long, very persistent, very fresh. Drink 2023 – 2033. 95 Points; Outstanding.” Sarah Jane Evans MW in My Top 20 Rioja Gran Reservas Decanter Magazine February 2023 & Decanter Rioja Guide 2023
“Open, very clean and precise with indications of ageing. Juicy, appetising, soft and serious at the same time, with a long distinctive finish. Still far from its peak. 95 Points; Outstanding.” Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW in Decanter Rioja Guide 2023
A perfumed wine with vegetal maturity. This has evolved very well into a round, plump, fleshy Gran Reserva with a sweet fruity finish. 95 Points; Outstanding. Pierre Mansour (Director of Wine at The Wine Society) in Decanter Rioja Guide 2023
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.
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.
Food match: Roast meats, especially lamb. It will also be good with lighter meats and cheeses. Fantastic dinner party wine and a real treat!
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