£19.50 all those years ago! Opens on the nose with lovely, generous, warm fruit, dried figs, old wood and charm. The palate is so smooth and delicious, and it delivers more of the same flavours. It has that character of Ribera that makes you confuse Tempranillo (the Rioja grape) with Bordeaux. It's made from 100% Tempranillo and was aged 21 months in Allier French oak barrels. This one does needs drinking at one sitting, ideally, as it does age once opened. You get the magic, and it will fade and start to taste too old, but capture that moment and drink it over a meal and it's amazing. N.B - this wine is 20 years old! The corks are long and fragile - take care opening, and if the cork does break or crumble, panic not, it does not mean the wine is faulty! Use a sieve or muslin and pour carefully.
Re-connecting with Bodegas Valsardo in 2021 after an 11-year hiatus was one of the best things to come out of the year. All those years ago, we were served the first wine with morcilla (a Spanish black pudding) and a local cheese, and really couldn't believe the quality we were drinking. We continued with more wines over a lunch of lamb grilled over a fire of old vines. This was a treasure trove of the most delicious wines, and we couldn't wait to tell our customers. 15+ years on, we're even happier. It is the holy grail of wine-buying to find prime drinking, cellar-aged wines at an appealing price, and with the Valsardo wines, we really hit the jackpot!