Sunday, October 22, 2006


This is a pretty good trio for a tasty dinner. Two from Rioja, one from Ribera del Duero. The Conde de Valdemar, Gran Reserva, Rioja, 1997 shows its age with a brick colour. It is a medium bodied, elegant, mature wine - easy drinking. Quite the opposite, the Condada de Haza, Ribera del Duero, 1996 is a stinky nosed ("mushrooms" was one comment), full bodied but not "thick", still tannic wine that is smoothing out nicely with age (I last opened this wine 3 years ago, it is definitely more approachable now). It even ate up the steak spices.... Last up for the evening was another enjoyable offering from a traditionally good producer. The Muga, Reserva, Rioja, 2002 is another medium bodied, medium woody, easy drinking well made effort that goes down toooo easily.
The Verdict: this is easy - all are GOOD, would definitely not turn down a glass. My preference was for the Condada, but I think the Valdemar won the other three over (One of our ranks wouldn't even drink the Condada after a sip! - more for me!!). Value: The Muga and Condada are worth the $20 and $25 they cost, but you won't find the 1996 vintage of the Condada easily (I just bought a bottle of the new release, the 2003, so stay tuned for a mini-vertical....). The Valdemar struggles to find value at $33.


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