Wines: Stored for years, 100,000 bottles of quality 1994 rioja are up for grabs

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I DON’T remember many decent wines drunk as a student, but I do remember the wonderful taste of old rioja. In those days rioja was accessibly priced for a student budget, and it tasted very different to the modern fruitier rioja of today.

If you remember that taste – and fancy a bit of nostalgia – or if you enjoy the experience of sampling old wines, head down to Majestic Wine. This month this high-street chain is offering a range of four mature riojas from a special parcel they have unearthed from a large private cellar in Spain. And it’s not just the taste that will be nostalgic – the prices they are charging are surprising, given that the wines are 18 years old, all from a very good vintage: 1994.

This summer, Majestic’s Spanish wine buyers Matt Pym and Nick Dagley received a call from a contact in Spain offering them more than 100,000 bottles of mature rioja: all from one source. They headed straight to Spain to taste them and bought the lot. Since September Majestic have been releasing small tranches online, but they are now selling all the 1994 vintage Rioja Reservas across their shops.

The owner of this Spanish treasure trove was a retired businessman who acquired the stock over many years for his catering company, which supplied high society weddings and corporate functions.

All the wines come from 1994: a vintage rated “five star outstanding” under the Rioja DOCa classification. After years of drought, 1994 produced some very elegant wines, often compared with 1995.

I tasted all four wines in the parcel. As I love mellow old wines, it was 
a rare treat. However, a word of caution. If you prefer fresh upfront fruity wines from the New World – these might not be your bag. 
If you enjoy the taste of mellow old rioja I suggest you hurry as stocks will not last long. The minimum purchase in Majestic is six bottles, but Christmas is just round the corner.