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CVNE 'Vina Real' Gran Reserva Rioja 1978 (750ML)

CVNE 'Vina Real' Gran Reserva Rioja 1978 (750ML)

"1978 was a very short vintage for Rioja with "only" 78 million liters of wine produced (compared with 135 million in 1981 or 128 million in 1973). That year Egypt and Israel signed the Camp David Accords, Vietnam invaded Cambodia and in Italy the terrorist group Red Brigades kidnapped and killed ex-Prime Minister Aldo Moro. The Vatican saw Pope John Paul I succeeding Pope Paul IV and Pope John Paul II succeeding Pope John Paul I shortly after. “Grease” opened in cinemas and cult TV series “Mazinger Z” aired in Spain, surely the first (and probably the last!) super robot manga series that I watched on TV. The vintage was officially declared "Muy Buena" (very good), while at CVNE they were a little more conservative about the quality of their wines and considered it simply "Buena." The 1978 Viña Real Gran Reserva was bottled unusually late, in February 1987. That might explain why I found the wine exceptionally dry, with smoky notes." WA

I think context is very important in wine, and when I drink old bottles I always think how the world was when they harvested the grapes: what happened that year, how people lived and how they made the wine. It's sometimes mind boggling to drink some very old wines, a real privilege which, I often say, is as close as you can get to time travel. So I've given some context to all these wines. I'm told nobody reads the tasting notes and people only look at the scores, let's see if we get some reaction on these. Even though the tasting was excellent, I expected even more; we had too many corked wines and some vintages had shown better on other occasions. But such is the case with old wines, there are no great vintages anymore, only great bottles. Highlights of the tasting were 1959, 1947 and 1938. On top of those, there was one outstanding and perfect wine that day, and, as I might not find better excuse to publish a note on it than now, I've included it here. It's an historical wine, a one-off, semi-sweet white produced at the end of the Spanish Civil War, a wine impossible to replicate, fruit of impossible circumstances, a wine I've had the luck to drink and share with many people on a number of occasions and which never fails to impress everyone.

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