You knew it was going to happen sooner or later. A wine for under 20 bucks at Costco was going to beat out all the high priced fancy-shmancy wines. Well, this was the week. I bought the wine for $19.99 at the Costco in Rancho Bernardo. This was a really nice Rioja. I don’t have a nice picture of the bottle or the label, and I don’t know anything about the winery. The name of the winery is “Bodegas Palacio”, and they make several Tempranillo based wines from their base in Rioja, Spain. For 2001, they made a regular Rioja, and a Rioja Reserva Privada (Private Reserve). The regular retails for about 12 bucks, but I have not had it. Wine Spectator loved the regular version and gave it 90 points. Interestingly, they gave the Reserva Privada only 85 points, and knocked it for being rustic. Robert Parker gave the Reserva Privada 90 points. Go figure.
The wine has a fairly dark ruby, almost garnet color, which is dark for Rioja. The bouquet is smoky, oaky, a little gamey, and the term rustic is appropriate. This is precisely what I like about this wine. Those who like Riojas that are light and almost Pinot Noir-like will not appreciate the smoky, sultry quality of this wine. But those who like Bordeaux, Brunello, and other old world wines will find this a most enjoyable Rioja. On the palate there is ample toasty oak, vanillin, crushed black fruit, and very supple tannin. The finish is liquid velvet. This was really a thoroughly delightful Rioja, and just a tad bit more full bodied than other Riojas. It is entirely ready to drink now.
* Prior Wine of the Week Winner!