The wines, the Gran Reservas in particular, are marked by rich yet ripe tannins, intense yet elegant fruit, and a fullness that Rioja rarely achieves. Part of that fullness could simply be due to the few potential weaknesses of the vintage: high alcohol and lower acids.
The ripeness of 2001 and the enduring warmth of the harvest season did allow for much of Rioja to enjoy a level of maturity that is exceptional. Though great, that maturity can be accompanied by elevated sugar levels, which yield higher alcohol wines and lower acids and can impact a wine’s ageing potential. This can leave it a bit flaccid after a few years, even though it appears appealingly lush in its youth.
From what I can taste, most producers managed to avoid these pitfalls. The following wines are simply exceptional and deserving of a place in every wine lover’s cellar.
Photo courtesy Alex Porta i Tallant via Flickr/CC