Cellar Treasure: 2005 Marqués del Puerto.

2005 Marqués del Puerto Gran Reserva Rioja

Mind you, I haven’t had this in my cellar for very long. I purchased two bottles about eight months ago from one of my favorite online wine shops, Wine Exchange for less than $20 ($19.98 to be exact). I’ve been buying from them for over a decade. They seem to specialize in finding estate aged great value European wines. Some of my best French and Spanish wines have come from them. They send out emails almost every day with great deals. For far too long I’ve been grabbing some of those deals. I’ve recently broken that habit, as my cellar reached a state where I figured I could keep a buzz going for about a year straight.

So now I’m working through the cellar in the opposite direction, consuming rather than collecting. It’s like a whole new outlook on life.

I have learned that Riojas seem to be like old-school Barolos, or at least like one-third of an old-school Barolo in that they seem to hit a perfect note between ten and twenty years of age. I don’t know if that’s an accepted axiom, or not, but at least from my tasting seems to be true. I was going to grill some USDA Prime grade Ribeye steaks and figured I needed something special to pair it with but given the hot weather of late wasn’t really up to something big like a Cabernet or a Petite Sirah, so I thought “why not a Rioja?”

I likely have two cases of various Riojas, ranging in vintage from 2001 through 2015 and dove into the wine cooler to find something ready to drink. I pulled this one out with anticipation. I always uncork and have a glass while I’m prepping and cooking to get a sense of what is to come.

To start off the cork broke. A significant struggle ensued to get the remaining cork fragment out of the neck, a task at which I failed miserably. I gave up and decanted it through a strainer. The first taste was discouraging. It had a great nose, but a harsh flavor.

Thankfully it mellowed in the decanter for the hour or so it required to get dinner on the table. It paired perfectly with the steak and salad. Soft and supple. Absolutely delicious.

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