We really struck gold when we came across this perfectly aged parcel of 1994 Crianza from Navarra. This is a region in Spain that perhaps has less fanfare than Rioja or Ribera del Duero, but has been capable of making exceptional wines for decades now. This blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and Graciano from Senorio de Sarria is singing. Imagine if aged Rioja and aged Bordeaux met in the middle, and this is what you'd get.
Due to the age of this wine, the cork is a little fragile and it throws a fair amount of sediment. We would recommend opening slowly with a butler's thief if you have one (if not they're a great tool to have on hand for opening older bottles - a Sommelier's best friend). Keep the bottle upright for an hour or so prior to opening so the sediment settles nicely on the bottom, and then transfer to a decanter before serving.
Be very careful pulling the cork. Mine crumbled under the weight of a foolishly administered Screwpull. Like the Reserva 1994 this was sniffed out by Indigo's Spanish bloodhound Johnny Hartwright, who writes, 'This particular parcel I bought from Bodegas Villarrica in San Asensio along with a whole host of other wines, principally Riojas (Beronia, CVNE, Alcorta, Monte Real, Viña Albina, Campillo and Ondarre) from the 1994 and 1995 vintage, which we tasted across the board. Ismael, the owner, received the collection from a friend of his in the Basque country who had a catering and events company for weddings, conferences etc and took it upon himself to find a buyer for the collection and sold it to me! All the wines had been properly cellared and many were in their original cases. All in all a lovely parcel!' I can only agree.
Deep, dark ruby with a very pale rim. Much deeper-coloured than a 1994 rioja would be. Very mellow indeed on the nose with more acidity and less flesh on the palate than the Reserve 1994 but still a fabulous mature wine for the money – especially on the nose. High-toned and balsam-scented. Dry finish and very appetising. Needs food though, whereas the Reserva 1994 is luscious enough to marvel at when sipped on its own. Rather impressive persistence. GV Drink 1999-2023