Vina Real, Gran Reserva, Rioja, 1970

This New Year’s Eve I finally got round to tasting a previous “Wine Of The Week”: Chateau St Pierre, St Julien, 2011. This was enjoyed at a local steakhouse over a hearty meal. I have mostly drunk older Bordeaux recently, but tucking into this was a revelation. Being young this was rich and sumptious, with plenty of tannin but never felt over the top. Blackcurrant dominates the palate with pencil lead coming through on the finish and rounding out an elegant wine. 92/100 (DT).

The main event on New Year’s Eve was a venerable bargain picked up at a local wine store. The shop had recently purchased a cellar and were moving on some loose older bottles at keen prices. Having visited CVNE last August I couldn’t resist taking the gamble on a bottle of the Viña Real Gran Reserva 1970. By the time this had got home from the store the 7 had fallen from the bottle so you will have to take my word on this one!


Excuse the quality of the photo – it was NYE after all

Viña Real, Rioja Gran Reserva, 1970

For me this was a classic Rioja Gran Reserva. Dead traditional (unsurprising at 46 years old) with a light body and high acidity. Held up to the light the wine was almost orange, whilst in the glass it appeared garnet with browning as expected for the age. The Gas Man noted sherry like aromas but i could not discern any obvious oxidation. There was still a slight grip from silky tannin with a satisfying silky mouthfeel. The fruit is pretty barren on this although there is a distant memory of strawberries, underlying metallic notes and a complex, if slightly hollow, palate. Rounding out the palate are sois bois, leather and dried meat, with lemon juice coming through on the finish highlighting the high acidity.

The more I drank this the more i come to enjoy it, and it was probably better after an extra 30 minutes air in the decanter whilst watching the fireworks. This wine was rather austere but given the age it was a total steal. Beware there is likely considerable bottle variation on this – we may just have been lucky!

Score: 93/100 (DT)


5 thoughts on “Vina Real, Gran Reserva, Rioja, 1970

  1. Congrats on taking the plunge and trying a 46 year old wine! Last time I tried that with a Spanish red (Faustino V) it was only good enough to pair with olive oil as salad dressing. CVNE is fantastic wine – one of my faves from Spain.


  2. We have another 6 bottles from the same supplier – may not be so lucky with those. The first samples had the highest fill levels etc. I must admit I was expecting to need to open more of the bottles to find enough that was still drinkable! I find it fascinating how fine sweet white wines (riesling, sauternes etc.) darken and gain depth of colour, whilst vintage ports seem to lighten and throw thicker sediment with increasing age.


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