There are a few 2004 Gran Reservas hitting the US market, like Marques de Murietta and CVNE Viña Real, but I think they are too young to drink now if you like traditional Rioja.  I mean, I think that even the 2001 Rioja Reservas and Gran Reservas will improve with (need) 5-10 years of bottle age and I think 2004 needs at least 5-10 years to enter the classic phase at least if we are talking about the Viña Real 2004 Gran Reserva.

I worried a lot about where Viña Real wines were headed because they had moved production to a new ultra modern facility.  Especially given that Viña Real Reservas and Gran Reservas have typically aged beautifully, at least by some of the vintage bottles I have tasted.  But the 2004 Gran Reserva has the makings of a classic Rioja, it just needs time.  If the 1996 and 1999 Viña Real Gran Reserva I drank recently are any indication of where this wine is headed, then I think there is a classic in the making, but it may be 10 years away.  That said, the 1996 (and 1999 I believe) was made in the old CVNE bodega in Haro, where Imperial is still made, the 2004 was made in the new super high tech bodega.  So what’s the takeaway:  Viña Real 2004 Gran Reserva still looks like the real deal, but it may take a decade to really find out.  And at about $33 at PJ Wines, I would say this is a fantastic deal for a classic Gran Reserva of this quality.

CVNE Viña Real 2004 Gran Reserva ~$33.00

Deep garnet with some purple hues.  There are dark fruits, with some tart cherry and some underlying fresh green flavors.  The acidity is silky and so are the tannins.  I think this is a Viña Real hallmark.  Drink well now, but needs 5-10 years for a more classic side to emerge.  Tasted on day two, the 2004 Viña Real G.R. is showing a bit more of where it is heading with some savory notes beginning to develop.  The wine was rock solid on day two with no signs of fading.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – GOOD VALUE