Dinastia Vivanco, Crianza 2008

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Dinastian Vivanco’s marketing team obviously was designed to get my attention, as I think I would have bought this wine if, for nothing else, because I love the bottle.  It’s modeled after a typical bottle of 18th century Spain, very elegant.
 
But it isn’t just the packaging that makes the Crianza 2008 so noteworthy.  On Wine Spectators Top 100 list for 2011, Crianza is a wonderfully tasty wine at about $18 a bottle that pulls a 90 rating from both Spectator and The Wine Advocate.  It’s a great Rioja that you can cellar and enjoy for 5 to 10 years. 
 
The wine is 100% Tempranillo and aged for 16 months in French and American oak before getting bottle aged for an additional six months.  The nose has a classic cigar box fragrance mixed with cinnamon.  The wine is delicious, with soft tannins and very light acidity.  Don’t hesitate to put the bottle right on the table as you are not going to need to decanter.  A very balanced red-fruit taste culminates with a nice long finish.  The Crianza 2008 will light up the table with a beautiful red color. 
 
I got curious and decided to find out what “Crianza” actually means.  Rioja, it turns out, has four categories.  The youngest is just “Rioja,” which is aged less than a year.  “Crianza” is aged two years, minimum, in oak.  “Rioja Reserva” is aged three years and “Rioja Gran Reserva” is aged two years in oak and three in the bottle.
 
This was a great sipping wine for the an evening with cheese and crackers.  Unfortunately for me, I was sipping it while the Patriots were losing their Super Bowl bid to the Ravens.  While the game left a sour taste in my mouth, I’ll remember the wine fondly.  I will also be on the lookout for more, because this wine was a great value.
 
Well, the votes are in and Griffy on Wine did cross the 1,000 views milestone.  The winner is Casanovia di Neri Burnello di Montalciino.  What really made the week special was hearing from some readers, it was a ton of fun to talk about some of the wines you hold special and get some great suggestions for future stories.  Any time you have a question or suggestion send it to me at jgriff4039@sbcglobal.net.
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