I have to say that nothing makes one feel more youthful than popping the cork on a bottle of wine that is older than you.  With that in mind and a new edict to open more older bottles of wine more often, we tucked into a bottle of 1970 Bodegas Riojanas Viña Albina Gran Reserva.

Although classic Rioja is kind of my thing, I have not had that many opportunities to try many wines from Bodegas Riojanas.  They have two principle bottlings along the lines of Lopéz de Heredia and CVNE; there is a more elegant style which goes into the Boredeaux style bottle, in this case, the Viña Albina, and the more robust style, Monte Real, which goes into a Burgundy style bottle.  I have tried a few Monte Reals, including a 1970 Gran Reserva, though that bottle was a bit leaky.  And I have had the 2001 and 1978 Viña Albina Gran Reservas in the past and come away with favorable impressions on both occasions.  Maybe it’s just that Bodegas Riojanas does not sit in the spotlight here in the United States that Lopéz de Heredia, La Rioja Alta, and CVNE receive, that the wines are not more well known?

The 1970 Viña Albina showed very well for a wine over 40 years old.  I would say that if there had been a bit more acidity then this would have been legendary rather than just very good.  That said, it’s probably the acidity that got it to a ripe old age and maybe there just wasn’t all that much left.  What was left was a classic Rioja nose of tertiary elements and a silky palate.  I really enjoyed the 1970 Viña Albina and look forward to more experiences with the older wines from Bodegas Riojanas.

There are some great recent tastings on a number of other older vintages from Bodegas Riojanas by Richard Jennings at RJ on Wine.  Lately Richard has been bringing a lot of great insight into many of the classic older wines of Rioja and profiling some noted Bodegas as well.  He is quickly turning into one of my favorite sources for information on classic Rioja, other than here of course… LOL!

Bodegas Riojanas Viña Albina 1970 Gran Reserva

The 1970 Viña Albina is a classic 40 something Rioja.  On the nose there is mushroom, tea, prunes, and leather.  Not really much primary fruit left here.  And not much acidity left either, but after 40 some years what can one expect; the acidity is what got it here and now the tank is running on empty.  It is a savory package and super silky and the color was surprisingly ruby despite the aged character of the wine.  Not the best bottle of old Rioja ever, but rock solid and a testament to the longevity of classic Rioja wines.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED