Bold words but happily uttered…. I had to try this wine the moment I noticed it was for sale. Last year I was fortunate to try the 2001 Anciano Gran Reserva Tempranillo (aged 10 years) and found it to be quite a fine and nicely aged wine – and for the money (under $20) it was a fantastic deal. Hence I could not wait to get my hands on another Anciano product, in this case a 7 year aged Reserva (one level below the Gran Reserva) priced at only $7.99! (Anciano Reserva Aged 7 years Tempranillo 2004 Spain PLCB Code #33272 $7.99). These Anciano wines hail from Spain’s south central region of Valdepenas (surrounded by the larger region called La Mancha). Valdepenas is less well known when compared to other Spanish regions like Rioja or Ribera del Duero, but this brings more competitive pricing for the chalky-soiled, hot region red wines of Valdepenas. Additionally (as if we needed more reasons to try another bottle) 2004 is acknowledged as one of the best Spanish vintages of the past 20 years, so we know the grapes were healthy before they became this wine!
Unlike most wine producers around the world who release wines shortly after bottling (leaving aging decisions up to consumers), Spanish producers continue the tradition of barrel and bottle aging their wines at the winery prior to release. This Reserva was treated to at least 24 moths in Oak Barrels, followed by five more years in bottle… the result is a softer, more complex wine with fewer of the sharp edges common to younger wines.
This wine comes in an attractive and old-world looking package featuring a red label and gold wire mesh covering the entire bottle which suggests a more expensive bottle than it is. The nose is slow to show, but features red fruits and a little strawberry and vanilla. The mouth feel is warm and soft, light to medium bodied – the flavors attack softly, a common feature for aged Tempranillo, but quickly form generous earthy flavors of red fruits, savory spices, leather and a hint of balsamic followed by a very persistent and smooth spicy finish. This wine would pair nicely with grilled meats and mature cheeses but I will save my next bottle for a piece of blackened salmon! Although this wine might age longer, I would drink sooner than later. For my money, this is the best $7.99 red in Pennsylvania’s State Store System – serve it at your next grill/dinner event and impress your friends while you save money!