1989, the number.  Some of us were there.  Chuck D was there.  And these little beauties from Barolo and Rioja were born.  And now there gone.  But, they were great.  I will remember them fondly because they were the wines we drank on my birthday this year.  I was lucky enough to share these with the same great folks who helped me celebrate last year with Chateau Musar and Primitivo Quiles.  You can reflect upon those stellar wines here if you like.  I had spent a bunch of time in my head trying to decide what wines I wanted to drink on the big day.  I distilled it down to Barolo and Rioja, my two favorite wine regions.  I knew that we would drink some older ones, so basically I just tried to match the oldest vintages that my cellar had for both Rioja and Barolo.  Hence 1989.  The 1989 Seghesio La Villa Barolo was a chancer.  A one off that someone had recommended and I had kept stashed away.  Heck, it was a Barolo at over 20 years old, how bad could it be.  Well, it wasn’t bad at all.  Pretty great in fact, though perhaps not the most traditional Barolo ever, it was a very delicious way to kick off our dinner.  It had such a magical melange perfume, that was only to be outdone by the Rioja.  With the first wine being a chancer, I knew I was taking little risk with the La Rioja Alta 1989 Viña Ardanza Reserva.  Though I had not tried the 1989 vintage of Viña Ardanza before, I have drunk the wines of La Rioja Alta on many occasions, and they remain one of my all time favorite producers.  The 1989 did not disappoint at all, just absolutely classic Rioja all the way.  Earthy, complex, and elegant.  Though from different regions, in different countries, I like to think that Rioja and Barolo share something in common.  Namely, there ability to age into such elegant, perfumed, and truly beautiful wines.  Thanks to you both Rioja and Barolo, and to the family and friends with which they were shared.  And to you 1989, you rock…

Seghesio “La Villa” 1989 Barolo

Surprisingly dark red garnet for a Barolo of 20+ years.  Some lite browning at edges, but barely.  There is a dense nose of smoke, tar, balsamic, red spices, anise, and violets.  In the mouth there are some lite tart tannins that suggest the wine can go on longer.  The nose is a nice exotic blend which invites you back for more, and the finish is long.  Not sure this is the most traditional Barolo, but very nice indeed.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

La Rioja Alta – Viña Ardanza 1989 Reserva, Rioja

Medium dark garnet in color with some browning, this is unmistakably old school Rioja at its finest.  There are tertiary elements of earth, brine, tapenade, balsamic, menthol, rhubarb, and dark cherry fruit.  It reminds me of a dark candied cherry covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt.  The acidity is solid and though certainly mature, I am sure this is solid for another 10-15 years.  As good as traditional Rioja gets.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – A CLASSIC