95% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano/Mazuelo
17 points Jancis Robinson MW – Purple Pages, 96 Points: Tim Atkin MW Special Rioja Reports 2019, 2020, 2021 & 2022:, Highly Recommended Decanter Rioja Guide 2023
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Organic practices, Vegan
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. Please see the Reviews below on this wine, 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.
In Decanter’s Rioja Guide 2023, this wine is Highly Recommended in an article titled “The Sweet Spot: £20 – £40 reds” written by Sarah Jane Evans MW, Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW and Pierre Mansour; see below in Reviews.
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.
“Aromas: leather, balsamic, moss, spices and wood. On the palate, the tannins are developed and well integrated. It maintains a thread of acidity. Pure Riojan classicism and with the characteristic notes of tobacco. In fact, it reminds me of a box of cigars and nutmeg. Do they seriously produce 66,000 bottles of this quality? This winery can be put on the list of great Rioja classic wineries.” 17/20 Drink 2018 – 2040 Ferran Centelles on Jancis Robinson MW Purple Pages,
“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.
“Developed style, with lots of vanilla, freshness and dried herbs and fruits. Crisp brambly acidity that is still full of energy. 92 Points Highly Recommended: Drink 2023 – 2036 – The Decanter Rioja Guide 2023 (The Sweet Spot: £20 – £40 reds)
This wine has consistently received excellent reviews since its release in 2019. 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.
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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