Don Jacobo from Rioja

Started over 100 years ago, Don Jacobo is a winery located in Navarrete, Spain, up in the Rioja region. We were quite happy to have the chance to meet the gregarious director, Francisco Javier Martinez Blanco at the Port4lio tasting in San Francisco.

The wines are imported by Vinos Unico in the US and they do indeed live up to the importer’s namesake of being “unique wines”. Take for instance the 2006 Crianza which has a nicely oaked nose that is strong, yet still refined and balanced. The body is plush and soft, gliding around your palate with warm tobacco elements to it. This Tempranillo/Garnacha/Mazuelo/Graciano blend finishes smooth with with a slightly lingering touch of acidity. Then there is the 2008 Ecológico Tinto which is an equal blend of Mazuelo and Tempranillo. Despite being three years old, it feels a bit like a newish wine, albeit one that knows its place. It boasts an earthy body and a nice acidity that would make for great food pairings. Added in to this is the fact it should retail for around $16, it’s an excellent wine to seek out.

Lastly there is the 1995 Gran Reserva which is 85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha–almost always a wonderful blend. This is a stellar wine and not just because it’s 16 years-old, but because it actually makes use of those 16 years to be refined and complex as a wine of this age should be. The over a decade and a half of aging has created an elegant nose that has the lightest hints of oak to it as well as powdery spices as well. Unlike the high-end wines of many European winemakers (who often prefer French oak barrels), this wine is aged in American oak and was bottled in 2001. The body presents soft, light chocolate and plum notes to the body while the finish lingers in a pleasing manner.

These were just a few samples of their overall portfolio, but if the chance arises, we highly recommend giving these wines a try.