Ever since my days of schlepping wine for the man, I’ve been a fan of comparison tastings. The sampling of multiple vintages of the same wine or different styles of a particular varietal can be extremely illuminating for one’s palate to the subtle and not so subtle differences of a wine from year to year or from region to region.
One unique aging comparison tasting that I once enjoyed used wines from the Spanish winery Bodegas LAN. Founded in 1972 and named after the initials of the three provinces in Rioja (Logrono, Alava, and Navarra), LAN has become a consistent producer of quality wines primarily using the region’s native grape, Tempranillo.
In Rioja each of these names defines the aging process of the particular wine.
- Crianza- wine must have spent at least 12 months in oak barrels.
- Reserva- wine must be aged for at least three years in oak and bottle, of which one year must be in the barrel.
- Grand Reserva- wine spends a minimum of two years in oak barrels and another three year in the bottle.
Hence when sampling all three bottles at once, one can experience and compare the differences between three aging processes of a particular vintage and quality levels of the wines.
Unfortunately, I was unable to obtain the Grand Reserva in Salt Lake City. So for the purposes of this edition of Thirsty Thursday I’ll be reviewing only the LAN Crianza and Reserva.
2006 Bodegas LAN Rioja Crianza
Pale maroon in color with an ever so slight ring of oak aging, the Crianza’s minimal nose hints at red fruits and spice which present themselves on the palate. Light with balanced tannins, simple cherry flavors as well as spice and licorice notes are expressed on a palate that is wrapped in a small amount of oak. Flavors linger pleasantly on a slightly warm finish. Always an outstanding value in wine.
Retails for around $10-12
2005 Bodegas LAN Rioja Reserva
Clear dark cherry in color with a more significant ring of oak aging, the Reserva’s nose offers a magnified the ripeness of fruit as compared to the Crianza along with a stronger oakiness. Medium bodied, a combination of ripe plum, violet, licorice, and spice pleasantly encompasses the palate. Finishes with a smoky and violet essence that lingers along with a slight astringency. Decanting recommended
Retails for around $18-20
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