|95||View from the Cellar||The Reserva de Familia is the oldest-vine cuvée from Bodegas Arrocal, with these seventy-plus year-old vines hailing from the vineyard of Guardavinas, which sits at an altitude of eight hundred and sixty meters. The soils here are a thin mix of sandy and clay and the old vines produced very small yields, so that there were only a bit more than forty-four hundred bottles produced in the 2018 vintage. The wine undergoes malo in barrel and is aged in a combination of seventy percent French casks and thirty percent American oak barrels for two years prior to bottling. It is then given another six months of bottle aging in the cellar before release. The 2018 delivers a refined aromatic constellation of plums, black cherries, Cuban cigars, a complex base of soil tones, just a hint of nutmeg-like spice tones, a touch of dark chocolate and a classy oak framing of both vanilla and spicy wood notes. On the palate the wine is deep, pure and full, with already a nice sense of plushness on the attack, a great mid-palate core, superb focus and grip and a long, ripely tannic and complex finish of lovely balance. This still has a bit of backend wood tannin to absorb (probably from the American oak casks), but it will easily do so with bottle age. I do not know what percentage of the barrels here are new, but this is a wine of such stunning old vine personality that it would not be a crime to age it solely in one, two and three wine barrels in the future! Stylistically, this reminds me a lot of the vintages of Vega Sicilia from the decades of the 1980s, except that it is obviously being released at a much younger age than those vintages of Vega. But, the wine has enormous potential and will be an absolute treasure once it has seen enough time in the cellar. A great, great wine! 2032-2100.
John Gilman – Issue #98 March/April 2022
|94||Wine & Spirits Magazine||Rodrigo and Asier Calvo make this wine in Gumiel de Mercado, where the brothers trace their family’s roots past the planting of the 70-year-old bush vines that provide the fruit for this Reserva. While most of the barrels in the cellar are made of French oak, they age this wine in American oak barrels, pointing up a green-olive note in the tannins, but barely making an impression against the succulent beauty and purity of the fruit. It’s dark and supple, with the peppery clarity of a grilled piquillo and some cracked black pepper spice enlivening the youthful flavors of wild blueberries. A traditional take on Ribera del Duero, updated to contemporary tastes.
Joshua Greene - June 2022
|94||Wine Review Online||This medium-sized, family-owned bodega (they’ve been growers since 1850) is among the most rapidly rising in the region, and there’s no doubt that its fame will increase rapidly in the very near future. This is a new, top wine that replaces two former high-end releases called “Ángel” and Maximo,” which were last made in 2016. Both of those wines were terrific for multiple releases on end, which shows that things are really moving at this address under the leadership of a new generation (Rodrigo and Asier Calvo), even though though the place was already obviously on the rise. Everything is estate grown and all from within the village (Gumiel de Mercado) where the winery is located. This is 100% Tinto Fino from 70+ year-old vines located in the single vineyard called Guardavinas, which is situated at 860 meters of elevation. It was aged entirely in new oak (70% French and 30% American) for 24 months, and though it will become more fully integrated and complex, it is already off to a flying start, having absorbed much of its overtly new oak aromas and flavors. That shows how formidable the core of fruit is in this wine, which recalls black cherries above all, with accents of baking spices and a whiff of woodsmoke, plus multiple other subtle nuances. This is already wonderful, and will only get better steadily over the decade ahead, by which time my score may well look low in retrospect.
Michael Franz - April 26, 2022