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Orders are available for pick-up at Restaurant Nicholas at 160 Route 35 South Red Bank, NJ 07701 during the following times:

Monday: 9:30-3:30; Tuesday – Friday: 9:15am – 9:00pm; Saturday: 11:00am – 9:00pm; Sunday: Closed

Sierra Cantabria Crianza Rioja 2016


You may remember the family from earlier in the year. In January, we offered the Viñedos de Páganos El Puntido Gran Reserva 2007, the #1 ranked Gran Reserva of the vintage with 97 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. The few bottles we were able to procure were understandably gobbled up quickly.

And while Viñedos de Páganos is another one of Master of Wine Tim Atkin’s first growth Rioja wineries, it’s not even the family’s flagship winery. That distinction belongs to another first growth, Sierra Cantabria, whose entire fleet of wines is as formidable and imposing as the Spanish Armada. This past year, eight of their ten wines were given 94 points or more by Decanter. It’s a yearly affair atop the rankings. But in special years? Their wines are something else. 

The 2016 vintage in Rioja was the best vintage since 2010 and one of a handful of elite vintages in the last half century, their wines need a Uhaul truck for all their awards. Their 2016 Magico was awarded 99 points and chosen as Rioja’s Red Wine of the Year. Their Señorío de San Vicente and Amancio Tempranillo bottlings also got 97 points, but all 3 of those will run you at least $75. But if you’re looking to get a piece of the 2016 action with arguably Rioja’s best winery, then you’re still in luck. 

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Expert Reviews

92 Points, James Suckling

Lots of fresh and linear fruit in this crianza with crushed berries and licorice. Medium to full body. Lightly chewy yet polished tannins. Flavorful finish. Drink now.

91 Points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

The 2016 Crianza is pure Tempranillo from a year they consider spectacular because of the health and ripeness that the grapes achieved very slowly. The destemmed grapes fermented in stainless steel, and the wine matured in French and American oak barrels for 14 months. It is still quite toasty and has a classical profile despite the new-ish oak, a little creamy, with that soft, voluptuous mouthfeel but with the fresh profile of the 2016 vintage, with red rather than black fruit. It’s a year of good yields, and the fruit and the wines have very good balance and freshness, less concentrated and more drinkable. It’s a year of balance and freshness, with good yields and healthy grapes. It has to be one of the finest vintages for this wine.

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