The Bodegas Ontanon Reserva 2005 is 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano grown in Estate vineyards (Tempranillo in the La Pasada vineyard and the Graciano in the La Montesa vineyard) in the southern Rioja region of Spain. The Graciano grape is primarily grown in Rioja as a blending grape, it adds color and aging properties. Bodegas Ontañón is owned by the Cuevas family who are 5th generation grape growers and 3rd generation wine-makers. As a Rioja Reserva wine, this Tempranillo was aged in American 60% and French 40% oak barrels (both new and used barrels) for 12 months and then bottled and held back for an additional 2 years. The 2005 vintage is the current release of the Reserva wine, which is only produced in exceptional years. The alcohol content is 13%.
The color is plum red. The nose is ripe red fruit, along with vanilla and spice. This is a Rioja Reserva that is extremely smooth, make that smoooooth. It starts with dark berries and plum with a hit of dark chocolate. The mid-palate adds ripe, tart cherry and a slight pull from the tannins. The tastes are nicely mingled together, giving this Tempranillo rich, deep flavor. The acidity shows balance and finish is full and long.
The Bodegas Ontanon Reserva 2005 is a lot of wine for the money, the list is $28, but a check of the web shows pricing between $18 and $25, which is a solid price for a wine with 10 years of aging. It drinks extremely well right now, smooth and lush, fruit forward with structure that supports the wine but does not get in the way. Most wines in the under $25 price range are produced to be “drink it now” wines, they are made to be at their best when young. But the voluptuousness and depth of an aged wine is an essential wine experience. To find an aged wine that is both well priced and delicious is a treat.