Marques del Silvo Rioja Reserva 15

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Selecting a red wine from Spain's Rioja region can be a confusing task for the uninitiated; however, it makes a lot more sense when you realize it's all about oak.

Oak is one of the most essential and celebrated elements of wine production in Rioja. The use of oak in the aging process defines the style and character of the region's wine, and there's a slew of laws determining what you're allowed to do and how you'll represent it on the wine's label.

Armed with this information, one can easily navigate a Rioja label to zero in on your preferred style. Like earthy, old-school, old-world wines? You'll love the Reserva and Gran Reserva. Prefer a more modern style juicy red in your glass? Go for the Joven, Consecha, or Crianza.

The Marques del Silvo Reserva is a classic example of a top-quality Reserva. Just released at the end of 2020, it spent thirty months in medium toast French and American oak barrels before spending an additional two years in bottle. This extra time in new and well-used oak barrels produced a wine with exceptional balance and complexity.

In the glass, you'll immediately notice layers of nuance and complexity that separate this Reserva wines from the Crianza and Joven -- and also many other Reservas! Aromas of vanilla, baking spice, cigar box, and mocha stimulate the senses. On the palate, expressive notes of earthy cherry, red currant, red licorice, dark chocolate, and mocha all melt into super-smooth tannins. The textbook Rioja finish is long and in harmony with the fruit and tannin.

Much like its Joven counterpart, this Reserva is a steal for the quality. There are plenty of inexpensive Reserva Riojas out there; however, I can guarantee that very few of those will even approach the quality of the Marques del Silvo at this price. If you're a Rioja fan, be sure to stock up on this one!

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