Where is Valdepeñas?
Valdepeñas is a Spanish Denominación de Origen (DO) for wines located in the province of Ciudad Real in the south of Castile-La Mancha (Wikipedia). Valdepeñas means Valley of Rocks, referring to the special soil, strewn with pebbles and larger stones over limestone and clay. It is a region with a long history of vine growing with records from the Iberian Period (6th Century BC). The climate is continental and semi-arid with summer temperatures reaching up to 40°C.
The Tempranillo Grape
Tempranillo is a black grape variety grown widely in Spain. The name of the grape comes from the Spanish word “temprano” which means early. This is an early ripening grape, and is the main grape used in Rioja. Tempranillo grows best at relatively high altitudes, that has hot summer days, and cool summer nights, which is a characteristic of the Valdepeñas DO. Wines made from the Tempranillo grape are ruby red in colour and have flavours including berries, plums, and some herbs. It as well ages well in oak barrels, giving you additional flavours of vanilla, leather, and tobacco possibilities. It can be blended with Garnacha (Grenache), Mazuela (Carignan), and other noble black grapes.
Anciano’s Gran Reserva Wines Review
I recently received 2 bottles of Anciano Gran Reserva wines. One was aged 7 years while the other was aged 10 years. These 2 wines were made with 100% Tempranillo grapes and are produced by the Bodegas Navalon winery in Valdepeñas DO. It is a family owned Bodega founded in the start of the 20th Century. To be classified as Gran Reserva legally in Spain the wines must be aged a minimum of 5 years before being released.
- Anciano Gran Reserva 2005, Spain (SPECIALTY – BC $12.99 but on sale for $11.99 till Nov 24/13) – This wine was aged for 7 years before release. It is medium ruby in colour and translucent from the core to the rim. It has a medium intensity aroma showing development from bottle aging. I picked up ripe red cherries, sweet spices, a hint of cedar/herb and chocolate, and vanilla on the nose. This wine is dry with a soft mouth feel. The tannins are soft and firm up on the finish but are not overpowering. There was a wide range of flavours covering red and black fruit, red cherries in particular, along with some raspberries and ripe cassis. Oak/vanilla, with a touch of sweet spice and cedar or capsicum show up after some exposure to air. It has a medium plus length with a bit of black currant leaf on the finish. This is an easy every day sipper. The soft tannins and mellow fruit flavours make it easy for anyone to like. I’d drink it now, but the producer indicates you could age it for up to 5 years. Enjoy with roast or grilled meat and some cheddar cheese.
- Anciano Gran Reserva 2002, Spain (SPECIALITY – BC $15.99 but on sale for $13.99 from Nov 25 – Dec 29/13) – This wine is aged for 10 years before being released. It has 24 months of oak barrel aging. It has a more opaque ruby core and gets more translucent toward the rim, and amazingly does not show any orangy bricking. This wine has a developing / aged nose. I first picked up some vegetal/herbal notes followed by black fruit, plums and vanilla aromas. The wine has medium acidity and tannins, with medium plus body. It is dry, round and soft on the palate. It starts with some vegetal flavours followed the black and purple fuit, ripe raspberries, red cherries, raisins, vanilla, a hint of cloves and dark chocolate. It also had an interesting earthy/meaty component and a mineral streak that was more evident on your initial sip. It packs more punch than the 7 year aged Gran Reserva, and leaves you with a bit more tannins and some mouth watering acidity on the finish. Also really late I picked up some cocoa. This wine is more intense than the other wine but is still easy to drink. I would recommend enjoying this wine with food, such as stews or grilled lamb. It is already 11 years old, so I’d drink it now, but the producer indicates 4 years of cellaring is still possible.
Amazing prices for wines that spend extended time in barrel and aging. Enjoy these as an every day wine with your meal.