This Rioja rocks. Spicy, complex, and delicious, drinking beautifully now, but can age another 6+ years. A Reserva implies that the wine was aged for a minimum two years in oak and an additional one year in bottle before release. The 1996 Reserva is ruby red with a bright center. There is great intensity and complexity of aroma and a classic nose of strawberries and autumn raspberries. Nice vanilla and toasted aromas from the oak help to create a wine with exceptional elegance. The flavor has superb fruit structure which ensures that the wine will evolve harmoniously over time. The additional aging of the Reserva over a Crianza makes it a better match with steaks and lamb.
"It seduces right from the color, its flavor blares like a mellow jazz trumpet from the center of the taste, ripe and savory with a resonant spice lasting in waves along the top of the tongue. Firm and brisk, this is eminently drinkable; the fact that the flavor lasts for minutes only proves the longevity of the wine itself. Buy enough to revel in it now while saving a number of bottles for more sophisticated pleasures ahead."
-Wine & Spirits