Ishmael Arroyo, Val Sotillo, Ribera Del Duero, Gran Reserva, 1996 (Aug. 18, 2011)

A belated 16th anniversary with my love.

"Why didn't you bring a '95?"

"I'd rather drink a good wine than obsessing about bringing a '95. Well, I do have a '95 of this wine that I think it will last longer, so I'll save it for a future anniversary."

"Uh, okay. Thanks."

It was a great evening, in a laid-back way that you can only manage when you're more or less on equidistant distances from forty and have a common history drenched in both love and hardship. Both of us basking in the newly athletic bodies we'd carved for ourselves over these last few years, enjoying a good, not great dinner at Cafe Italia (the choice of dishes, recipes and raw material were excellent, the execution a bit off-hand - was it because I wasn't recognized sans my better-connected wine mates, I wonder?), relishing a wine good enough for discerning wine geeks.

If this wine was a real-live person, this is the man I'd want to be. Gruff, yet sensitive, in a latter-day Clint Eastwood way, black fruit laden with cardamon, smoked meat and sea salt. The whole of the package would be rustic, were it not tempered by a core of mellow fruit. I have a lot of good-to-great wines, you know, but I'm down to my last Arroyo Reserva and my last Arroyo Gran Reserva, and when they're all gone, I'll be damn sad. They're really one of a kind, on all the varying levels of quality. This is the top-tier level, costing about 350 NIS when it was offered by Giaconda a few years ago.


Daniel Lifshitz said…
the 95 crianza of ismael Arroyo is extraordinery. takes the 96 and the 95 reserva and gran reserva!!
2GrandCru said…
The Crianza? Is it more Bourgogne-like than the Gran Reservas?