Altos D`Oliva, Gran Reserva, Catalunya 2013
The Gran Reserva red from Altos, invariably 8-10 years old, has long been a favourite of mine and of many of our customers, with its astonishingly low price.
This Gran Reserva is from a small family vineyard in the hills above the river Ebro, the border between Roman Spain and Hannibal’s Carthaginian empire, just south of Priorat which is the source of some of Spain’s finest wines. A delicious tempranillo, garnacha and cabernet sauvignon melange which has long been our best-selling red wine under £10.
With six years bottle age, having spent 36 months in oak, this Gran Reserva is at its peak of maturity and perfect for drinking now. In our opinion, the equal of many much more expensive wines.
How does the wine taste?
A deep reddish purple with complex fruit aromas. A rich, fresh wine with red berry and mineral flavours that come from vines of a certain age.
What do the critics say? (previous vintage)
"Here's a wine from Catalunya in the northeast of Spain, where the Tempranillo and Grenache grapes local to the area are joined by Cabernet Sauvignon. You can think Gran Reserva Rioja as a reference point, this 2010 having spent eight years bottle age after a full three years in oak barrels. There is a soft brick colour on the rim, and the wine does show maturity, some autumnal dried leaf and more oxidative dried blood notes among the still bold berry fruits. The American oak adds its characteristic vanilla, spice and even a hint of mint. At £9.45 this will go down really well with lovers of old school Rioja in particular, the palate velvety and smooth with unruffled sweet fruit, though there is balance here too. Personally I'd be drinking this over the short term, but like many of the old school Riojas, it could also prove to be indestructible! "
Tom Cannavan, wine-pages.com
"A tasty blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Garnacha that has spent three years in oak and two in bottle before release. It seems suspiciously cheap tome (a Rioja Gran Reserva would be twice if not thrice the price) but it cut the mustard when I tasted it and I enjoyed its smooth, spicy dark fruit and long chewy finish."
Jonathan Ray, The Spectator