Great wines always deliver the full package: They beguile with their aromas, pull you in with their complexity and flavors, and hold you with their mouthfeel and length. La Rioja Alta's 1987 Viña Arana Reserva is a great wine.
Starting with the very perfumy sandalwood and warm vanilla bean notes, you know you’re in for something special. The palate lets dried cherry, tea, smoke and mineral notes glide along, while the finish is supremely silky and long. This is traditional-style Rioja at its best.
A friend brought it to dinner at Mercato, a casual, rustic Italian café in Red Hook, N.Y. It showed even more life as it married with the different pasta dishes we had as our primi course: spaghetti tonno, orecchiette with squash and buccatini carbonara. For me, it was 92 points, non-blind, and I can still taste it days later.