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Rare Old Spanish Vintages

I had the pleasure of attending an intimate tasting of some older Spanish wines on November 12, 2019. Justin Berlin of Spanish Wine Exclusives was the host at Tia Pol in NYC. About 20 wines were poured that were purchased in Spain from several collectors' cellars. They are known for doing this, making small quantities of very special wines available in the U.S.  The regular SWE portfolio is well curated and all Spanish, with about 50 items.

This tasting had mostly Rioja (ranging from Crianza to Gran Reserva); all needed some special care with a Durand for opening because of the age of corks and all showed great grace and finesse. They ranged from 1959 to 1989 in vintage, with the several '64s showing best for me. Justin said it was a great vintage, and the wines bore this out.

A few specifics:

1964 Bibainas Rioja Gran Reserva; Still fresh with edges of age creeping in, this wine was decanted before tasting. Wonderful.

1966 Berberana "Carta de Oro" Rioja Crianza; Lots of red fruit, complex tannins, still presenting with fresh acidity.

1981 Marques de Caceras Rioja Gran Reserva Reserva; Great balance of young and tertiary characteristics. A thought provoking wine.

1987 Chivite "Gran Fuedo´Navarra Rosado; A 30 year old rose with surprising acidity and delicate body. Notes of petrol  reminded me of a great Riesling. Who knew?

Justin has a long history with Spanish wine, having built the early PJ Wine Spanish collection that they are known for. is where to find them, should anyone be interested in having a unique wine experience at prices that won't break the bank.

Bernard Kenner                          

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