Sunday, April 10, 2011
Roda I Reserva 1996
Exceptional, remarkable, wonderful, extraordinary. And let me add delicious.
With apologies to the old TV series The A-Team, I love it when a plan comes together. In this case I love it when a wine comes together in perfect maturity.
Last night we opened a 1996 Bodegas Roda, Roda I Reserva from the Rioja region of Spain. There were several bottles sitting in the cellar for some time and yesterday we opened one to drink with a Tri-tip beef roast with a Romesco sauce of tomatoes, almonds, garlic, jalapeno peppers, vinegar, pimenton and olive oil.
The wine was brick red and mature in the glass. At first the nose was devoid of any fruit, just dry, dusty earth. I thought the wine was perhaps over the hill. A few minutes later some fresh meat aromas and some fruit began to peek out from the earth, almost like things coming up out of the earth in the spring for a new season. After forty minutes or so the wine just bloomed. Aromas of dark fruit, the hints of fresh meat, the bits of earth were all there.
The first sip or two was all about the earth and dust, but toward the middle the fruit jumped out and coated the mouth. It was fully ripe without being over the top in any way. The acid was still wonderful and the tannins were still strong. The wine was just in perfect balance with the sweetness tempered by a wonderful savory quality to the acid and earthy tastes.
It was delicious with the beef. The smokiness of the pimenton and the sharpness of the vinegar sang a wonderful chorus with the wine. There was some curried couscous on the side, full of pungent curry powder, currants, almonds, lemon juice and olive oil and that too was great with the wine. Of course, I think almost anything would have been good with this wine.
Fourteen years after the vintage the wine was just about perfect. I love young, fresh wines, but my heart still belongs to fully mature wines that take time and patience to come together.
13.5% alcohol and the cheapest internet search price I could find was over $100. The price sticker was still on my bottle and that sticker said $45.
I should have bought more.