Revisiting the latest vintage of this real deal Rioja Reserva aged 30 months in oak barrels, the Kirkland Signature Rioja Reserva.
From the bottle:
Kirkland Signature Rioja Reserva is an elegant wine made from 100% Tempranillo grapes grown in the region of Rioja. Aged 30 months in oak barrels and cellared for six months in the bottle prior to release, this ruby-colored wine has intense, spicy aromas with a hint of licorice. Vanilla flavors on the palate leave a pleasant, lingering, well-balanced finish.
Bottled by Bodegas Eguia
We've reviewed this wine a number of times here on Reverse Wine Snob and have found it to be consistently good, although some vintages are definitely better than others. The producer this year is once again Bodegas Eguia and like the last couple vintages it spends 30 months in oak. Previous vintages have ranged from 36 months in oak for the 2013 to only 24 months when the wine was made by Bodegas Muriel.
Of course, in order to be labeled as a Reserva strict guidelines must be met including three years of aging with at least one of those in oak. 30 months in oak is pretty astounding to me given the cost of those barrels and that we're talking about a $8 wine! (Granted these are likely very large barrels but still.)
The 2018 Kirkland Signature Rioja Reserva needs a LOT of time to open up. Once it does, you'll find a pleasing aroma of blackberry, vanilla and cola along with secondary notes of licorice, mint, cedar and more.
At first sip, I probably wouldn't peg this as a Rioja Reserva like we've been able to on past vintages. After it has some air, it starts to reveal that classic Rioja character that can only come from being well aged and spending some significant time in oak barrels. Medium-bodied and smooth with soft tannins, it's also lightly spicy.
Just like the previous vintage this was barely a Taste Rating of 7 at pop and pour. And while it did very slowly improve (it was actually at its best on day 2) it was never able to get to a higher rating. At just $7.99 we're not complaining, but it has been much better in the past.
It ends dry with more blackberry and vanilla plus some long-lasting cola and cinnamon notes.
2018 Kirkland Signature Rioja Reserva
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You can also find more of our favorite wines from Rioja here.
And here's our review of the 2017 vintage.
The 2017 Kirkland Signature Rioja Reserva begins with a really lovely, harmonious aroma after being opened a few hours. Blackberry, vanilla and balsamic along with secondary notes of licorice, mint, cedar and more all combine quite nicely.
Tasting the medium-bodied wine reveals that classic Rioja character that can only come from being well aged and spending some significant time in oak barrels. Smooth with soft tannins, lightly spicy and featuring great balance this wine is a pleasure to drink.
A 7 at pop and pour and it slowly and surely improves as it has time in the glass but we still thought is was lacking a bit of depth versus previous vintages.
It ends dry with more blackberry and vanilla plus some long-lasting cola, cinnamon and balsamic notes. While it doesn't get quite as high of a rating this time around it's still a remarkable value for the price.