Monday, June 04, 2007

12 Year Old Rose? YES!!!

You know how every so often you read something on a wine blog that captures your imagination, something about a wine you have never before tasted, something that sounds completely different and exciting? That doesn't happen too often for me, but when it does I am very happy. A while ago I read Eric Asimov's post on a rose from Rioja and felt so inspired.

Lopez de Heredia is a famous producer in Rioja, known for excellent wines that are held in the estate cellars for many years before release. This was quite common years ago but due to the expense of carrying so much inventory, and probably also due to the changing tastes of new wine drinkers, it is the rare producer in Rioja whose new releases are actually old wines.
Lopez de Heredia is one of these rare producers. I tasted and very much enjoyed their "new" 1994 white Rioja, and I always enjoy their old red wines, well both times I tasted them anyway. But a rose? An 11 year old rose? Preposterous! Rose, even serious rose (and we all seem to recognize that rose can be serious now) is for drinking young, for sitting on the deck or in the yard, for sipping carelessly on a spring evening. Would you do that with an 11 year old rose?

Well with the 1995 Lopez de Heredia Rose you could, and you'd have a great time, but this one, as comrade Asimov rightly points out in his post, this one rewards your attention. It is a confusing wine, full of contradictions. It was highly enjoyable on its own but with food it really sang. I must say that I was a bit mesmerized by this wine, and I tried to find more immediately, but alas, the 1995 vintage is long gone. Luckily the 1997, the "new" vintage, is on the shelves.

Why did we wait for a year to open and taste this wine? Never got around to it last summer, and I've been waiting for the right moment this spring. I wanted to uncork it with people before a wine tasting, as an interesting beginning to a night of wine. Never happened, lost in the shuffle. So the other night when BrooklynLady and I sat down on the deck on a gorgeous spring evening to a plate of dry Italian sausage and two Spanish cheeses, the creamy Clara and firmer Ibores, both goat cheeses I believe, it just seemed like the right time. Now 12 years old, this bottle of rose found a home. I would love to offer myself as the resting place for its brethren, if they so choose.

2005 R. Lopez de Heredia Rioja Rosado Vina Todonia, $24 (Chambers Street).

Beautiful salmon color with some rusty orange. Amazing nose of youthful strawberry and older sherry, some vanilla. Complex palate of vibrant and fresh strawberries and peaches, very nice acidity, very pure, with mature oxidized notes. Yes, these things are happening at the same time, and they compliment each other, they are not at war. I only wish that we had an older Spanish goat cheese - that 10 year aged cheese with ground almonds on the rind perhaps. that way we could have mirrored the young/old character of the wine with both young and old cheeses. Next time. A fascinating wine and a definite rebuy.


Anonymous said...

Deetrane might be willing to share our experience at Lopez de Heredia on our honeymoon. :)

Brooklynguy said...

Hey Pee-Jays,

I will certainly ask him for that story - time for another guest post.

So glad to see you around here. Slumming?

Anonymous said...

I poured this wine a few years ago at a rose tasting we had. I loved it but I was in the minority. I later found one more bottle. Also, I did get to taste it at a recent Lopez de Heredia tasting; future vintages, btw, will all have the 'Riserva' tag on them.

Brooklynguy said...

Hiya Jack - I may also be in the minority here. My own wife was not anywhere near as impressed as I. But I still believe!

What is the significance of the Riserva tag?

Joe said...

Old rose, very cool. The Riserva tag is very strict in Spain - refers to amount of time in oak, and when it can be released to the public. It is different for whites and reds, but not sure about Rose - check here:

Brooklynguy said...

Ah yes, a "signal" to the public about aging. I respect that. Have you tried this wine Joe? It's sick, honestly...

Joe said...

Nope, never had a Spanish rose, as far as I can recall. Especially an aged one