I am not trying to single out San Vicente here, but New French Oak is a four letter word!  Here is the thing, I don’t really dig it when a wine is completely masked by the heavy scent of new oak.  In this case, the San Vicente is made in 90% New French Oak barrels, the other 10% being New American Oak.  This stuff is crimson colored oak juice.  And I know some people really like that, and its a pleasing and familiar scent and all, but it’s not wine really in the end is it?  Some say the oak will integrate over time with wines that receive 100% new oak, which is invariably French Oak these days so I won’t even get down on American Oak since only French Oak is hip.  Well, this here San Vicente Tempranillo has 13 years on it, and I can tell you that the oak has not integrated at all, and I reckon it never will.  I am not familiar with the wines of San Vicente, so I won’t say that this wine is no good, it is what it is, an oak flavored wine beverage.  In Rioja 1994 is considered the year when “Modern Rioja” broke onto the scene in a big way, so by 1998 we are looking at the height of modern wine making madness in the region.  And one of the big signatures of the modern wines is the use of 100% new French Oak.  Well, I don’t think these wines are going to really hold up over time, as they are one note wonders.  They could come from anywhere, they taste generic, and they are going no where.  I am not hating on the player here, just the game.