After the presentation of Eguren wines, I thought it might be a good idea to dry how one of these wines showed with some maturity, so I uncorked a San Vicente 1995, bought for € 31 at Alter Vinum. (The current vintage in his distribution seems to be 2002.)
Bright medium red colour, slightly brick-coloured edge. In the nose rather concentrated red berries with some blackberries, some vanilla and barrel notes, slight spiciness, and some developed notes with both a slight Burgundy touch and classical Rioja notes (sous-bois/forest floor, leather and some other animalic notes?). Slightly more than medium bodied, good fruit concentration on the palate with notes or red berries, slight bitterness and high acidity which combine to an impression of cranberries, a slight alcoholic bite, well integrated and softened tannin that do have some “bite” left. Long aftertaste combining acidity, bitterness and some fire, which give a rather firm ending. I decide to forgive a slight alcoholic impression in a Spanish wine at 15 years of age and score it 91-92 p.
Surprisingly young in its aromas, where the berry aromas dominate over the developed notes. I don’t agree with Parker’s guess of “best before 2007”. Should actually improve with another 5 years and be able to take at least 10. (This bottle was in perfect condition with respect to fill level and cork condition.) I have one small reservation, though: if the fruit recedes quicker than other notes appear, there is a risk that the alcoholic fire and the bitterness becomes more prominent, which would probably give a wine that is less good overall.
In 1998, Robert Parker scored it 92 p and recommended drinking it 1998-2007, saying it is not likely to make “old bones”. In his defence, I should point out that “modern Spain” was a phenomenon which emerged primarily in the 1990s (although Alejandro Fernandez of Ribera del Duero had his Pesquera up and running long before), so 12 years ago the experience of these wines’ ability to age was much less than today. On the other hand, several of the high-end Priorat wines from the early-mid 1990s were assumed to stand 25-30 years of cellaring by Parker, despite the fact that the first truly modern Priorat appeared with the 1989 vintage, the premier vintage of “the five Clos”. Even today, many are careful in estimating how long the wines of modern Spain will last, much more careful than for French wines, in my impression. Because although there have been plenty of modern-styled Spanish wines for some 20 years now, the style of all producers hasn’t been entirely constant during this period.
Apprently, the barrel regime of San Vicente has changed during the last 10 years. 1995 saw 20 months in barrels of American oak according to the back label, and also shown a vanilla note that you expect this to result in. The 2006 saw 16 months in a mixture of 90% French oak and 10% American oak, and had no obvious vanilla notes. I checked the back label of a 2001 (not tasted yet), but it no longer had these detailed data, but instead a small superlative story about the vineyard and the grape variety. So apparently, Eguren caters less for information-thirsty wine geeks with their newer vintages…
The Swedish version of this post can be found here.