On a just-competed trip to Spain and Portugal, I tasted many good Riojas--Crianza, Reservas and even one or two Gran Reservas. But I really don't think any of them measure up to this inexpensive Cotes du Rhone from Domaine Sainte Anne.
At 15 years of age, the color is turning slightly, but the aromas and flavors just keep getting better. Cherries, flowers, spice. Strong mid-palate. The flavors just keep rolling in. Layers of pleasure.
Many Rioja makers today are turning away from Grenache or Garnacha in their blends, apparently because they believe it is an inferior grape compared to Temperanilla. I far prefer Grenache although as long as it is grown in the appropriate soil with low yields and not exposed to new oak.