With so many wines to cover, Spanish Wine Week has crept into a second week. Today's selection, a reserva, brings me back to the Rioja region. The Barón de Ley 2001 Reserva was aged for 20 months in new American oak. After that it spent a full 24 months aging in bottle. This first thing the nose of this wine gave off was a strong whiff of menthol. I didn't find that very pleasant but it was also accompanied by some subtle cherry. The initial sip was very tart. This wine needs to be decanted for at least an hour. Once that hour passes the menthol notes dissipate and the cherry come out front and center. Accompanying the sour cherry notes, which are fairly typical of Rioja, is plenty of out front oak. As time goes on the oak fades from the forefront. The mid-plate features more cherry accompanied by some vanilla and spice notes. The wine has tremendous acidity. Not so much that it's distracting but it is ever-present and should be considered when looking for a dish to pair this wine with. The finish brings out some white pepper and a touch of earthiness. However for a wine that retails at around $22 the finish is below average in length and frankly unimpressive. Overall the wine doesn't have nearly enough complexity to justify it's price tag.
Once Barón de Ley 2001 Reserva opens up it's decent but underwhelming. For $22 this wine is overpriced. If it retailed for half the price it would be much easier to overlook it's shortcomings. However as it stands it's incredibly easy to do much better for that money with wines from Rioja. Therefore there is no way I can recommend this wine.
Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons.
Spanish Wine Week concludes tomorrow with another selction from Bodega y Viñedo Fuentecén.
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