Battle of the Vintage Riojas: Sierra Cantabria San Vicente 2008 vs. CVNE Reserva, 2012

From the cellar: This time of year, the “season” if you will, is a good excuse to dig up some gems.

The 2008 San Vicente was a “significant birthday” birthday gift, and a great gift at that.  What a wine (despite the dry cork: Hey BC wine sellers, how about some lie down?!!).  Each sip delectable. I heard a background soundtrack of oohs and aahs and very contented sighs Wimbledon-esque, the quiet at the dinner table when everyone digs into a satisfying spread, Terrence Malick-ian lyrical.

Dark, dark, dark; squid ink.  Prune, prominent prune and plum and a few other dried stone fruits on the attack.  There are points on the palate like mince tart (not the UK mince, lest a UK reader mistake me), but sweet and lingering and as if topped with a dollop of thick rich cream.  A deep earthiness on the finish.  Very hard to place this.  Just plain wowza.

We didn’t drink it all in one go and I would say that the second day (although properly “vacu-sealed”) it lost a little glamour.

The CVNE Reserva (not the Gran Reserva, which on occasion we’ve posted about) as expected was admiral.  But it drank like Tempranillo.  I think even the modestly knowledgeable wine afficionado could blind it as Rioja and be much less likely to do so with the San Vicente.  It was good in the typical sense; take the varietal, make an excellent wine, and then bottle it.  A most magnificent sipper, velvet, bouquets of violet, full on the palate.  In 2017, when we first posted about this wine, we paraphrased Hugh Johnson’s quote about wine as a marriage of nature and aesthetics.  True to form this vintage has softened over the last few years and warranted a lot of drinking pleasure.

I am not sure we’ve ever drunk a dud from CVNE/CUNE.

In brief: End of year score.

Price: The 2012 we purchased from Marquis in 2017 for $31.21 before tax, so obviously a score, likely part of a mixed case.  The San Vicente, although gifted, can be found at Kits Wine Cellar for nearly $80.

Market Liquidity: To be absolutely, unequivocally a broken record, we will say it yet again: There is no better red wine value in BC than Spanish Rioja.  Your dollar just goes way, way further, vintage or not.

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