2014 Baron de Ley Tempranillo, Wine Spectator 90!

Hailing from the Carboneras vineyard, the highest vineyard in the Rioja appellation, the 2014 Tempranillo is our newest wine from the Baron de Ley winery. Promising red fruits and well-developed tannins, we at the tasting team selected this Tempranillo as the next wine for our decanting test.

10 minutes after opening, the initial nose of this wine was resplendent with black cherries, soft herbs, and subtle whiffs of scorched earth. An additional 10 minutes began to reveal the sweet cherry pipe tobacco aromas while ever so slightly tart and extended red and black cherry notes and soft white pepper spiciness attacked the palate.  These flavors came in a sustained wave that showcased an impressive 35+ second finish.  While this wine may not be especially acidic, the slight tartness and a delightful salinity give this wine a very refreshing personality.

At the 30-35 minute mark, this wine became impressively complicated with emerging subtle flavors of black olive, elegant cedar, faint graphite, and sweet cinnamon spices.  This level of complexity is a rarity, particularly at the $13.87 price point.  This wine is truly a gift from Baron de Ley and would be ideal for your next tapas outing or a prosciutto & olive pizza.  For those who enjoy tuning into the subtle complexities of this Tempranillo, Wine Spectator’s 90 point review will seem a tad stingy.  Go ahead and consider this a Kats 91 and a spectacular value! 

2010 Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva, Decanter 95!

Due to its Decanter 95-point score at just $17, we've had the 2010 Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva targeted for tasting since discovery. It certainly has not disappointed and, at $17, this wine way over delivers. I'd be impressed by this wine at five times its price.

We poured this wine in a decanter and violently agitated it washing-machine-style for about 5 minutes to get it going. I'd recommend being on point after 25 minutes of decanting to nose the wine and take a few test sips over about 10 minutes to the 35-minute mark when I'd start slowly sipping the wine.

The initial nose offers cold, dry chocolate, blueberries, blackberries, pencil lead, and cool, dry herbs (not quite spearmint or wintergreen, but slightly cool). On the palate, there's a free delivery of abundant blue and black fruits along with notions of the other mentioned components. By 25 minutes in, additional elements of chalk and black plum skins emerge with a very slight tartness that alludes to developing red-fruit complexity. 

At 32 minutes, the wine is opening further, becoming a harmonious melding of the scents and flavors above while new complexities of elegant cedar and violets stir around the nose. If you are not into this wine by now, you're late to the party.

Later, slightly raisinated black plums with hints of red-fruit brightness emerge to take the complexity of fruit to extraordinary levels. Eventually, the red-fruit nuances become convicted in offering up dark cherries that join with the other fruits to deliver an incredibly dynamic palate that spans the entire red-blue-black spectrum.

The 2010 Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva and the 2013 Aquinas Pinot Noir are my top two must-have red recommendations.

- Tasho Katsaboulas