|93||Wine Review Online||I tasted this vintage of this wine both at the bodega in Spain and also in my home in late April, 2022, and was highly impressed on both occasions. I must confess that I’ve probably become somewhat predisposed against bottles labeled as “Crianza” – even though it is my job never to be predisposed — simply because of the sheer number of examples from Spain that were lacking in fruit energy, virtually dripping with overtones of vanilla, and largely bereft of length in the finish and depth of fruit in the midpalate. (Rioja is largely the regional culprit behind this, but it is not alone.) Well, this is THE bottle to cure you if you also suffer from the same syndrome of, “do I really need to deal with another Crianza?” The wine is packed with rich, pure, deeply flavorful fruit that wears whatever oak it picked up over 12 months in barrel very lightly and as a flourish rather than as a principal component, rather like a scarf flapping in the wind behind a motorcyclist. Sourced from vines averaging 30 years of age and aged entirely in French oak, this is packed with delicious fruit flavors (mostly black-toned) with lovely, lively spice and toast accents. Already utterly convincing and complete, this will easily improve for another five years. Yes, $32 is a fairly high price for anything that reads “Crianza” on the label, but the wine is worth more than that, and the word should simply be ignored in this case, as this is a unicorn among goats.
Michael Franz – April 26, 2022
|91||View from the Cellar||The 2019 Crianza bottling from Bodegas Arrocal is produced entirely from Tempranillo again this year, with these vines thirty years of age in the township of Gumiel de Mercado, which sits above eight hundred meters above sea level. The wine is fermented with native yeasts and aged for one year in used French oak barrels. The 2019 Crianza comes in at 14.5 percent octane and delivers a ripe and complex nose of black cherries, a touch of plum, cigar wrapper, a fine base of soil, gentle spice tones and a discreet framing of cedary oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a plush core of fruit, firm, buried tannins and excellent length and grip on the focused and very well-balanced finish. This is going to be an excellent wine in due course. 2029-2065.
John Gilman – Issue #98 March/April 2022
|92+||View from the Cellar||Bodegas Arrocal’s Crianza bottling is made from slightly older vines than the Tinto Fino, as these tempranillo vines are a minimum of thirty years of age. They are farmed organically; the wine is fermented with indigenous yeasts and the wine is aged for a year and a half in used French oak barrels. The 2020 Crianza is a beautiful young wine, offering up a refined aromatic constellation of red and black cherries, black plums, fresh nutmeg, Cuban cigar wrapper, a lovely base of soil tones and a suave foundation of nutty French oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full- bodied, pure and complex, with a lovely core of fruit, excellent soil undertow and grip, ripe, buried tannins and a long, focused and impeccably balanced finish. This will want some bottle age before it really starts to approach maturity, but it is so well balanced that it is already fairly easy to drink, even in its youthful guise! The tannins do build a bit as the wine gets some air, so I would be inclined to try to keep my hands off of it for at least a handful of years before drinking. First class juice. 2027-2075.
John Gilman - Issue #103 January/February 2023.
|92||Wine Review Online||Bodegas Arrocal's Ribera del Duero Crianza is delicious every year, but I confess that I’m always tempted to tell readers to just dig a little deeper into their pockets to buy Arrocal’s “Selección Especial,” which rings up for about ten bucks more. But in 2020, this wine is so good that you should buy both, taste both, and decide what to do when you go back to the store — which you will surely do once you’ve tasted them. The oak is really restrained in this, lending some subtle spiciness and a little whiff of toast but almost no evident wood tannins. There is a bit more grip in this than the “Selección Especial,” but the fruit is rich and generously flavored and more than equal to the challenge of buffering any astringency in the finish. Ready to rip right now with robust food, this is also capable of improving for at least a decade in a decent cellar, which can’t be said of many $32 wines from anywhere these days.
Michael Franz – September 12, 2023