2012 Marques de Caceres Gran Reserva
“Dark color with a hint of brick-red on the edge. Superb complexity on the nose with balsamic notes and refined oak. Full in the mouth with a depth of mature plums, sweet spice, and roasted coffee beans. Still fresh and discreetly lively, promising excellent potential for aging. Delicious and full with superb length. This Gran Reserva refreshes with the character our DO’s traditional style..”
“Currant, blackberry and some plum undertones, as well as floral and burnt-orange notes. Linear and firm on the palate with a medium to full body and a polished, tannic finish. Very clean and refined texture, yet displaying strength at the same time. Drink or hold.” – James Suckling
“Cáceres is a town in Extremadura, in south-western Spain, but the Marquis of Cáceres was a friend of Forner’s so, in exchange for a small stake in the company, he allowed the use of his title for the wine name. After all, both Riscal and Murrieta were Marquises, so why not Cáceres? The wine was to come from Rioja Alavesa, the region he considered ideal for his purpose.
“That’s how, on some rented space in the Cenicero co-op, Émile Peynaud selected wines from the co-op and others to create the first Marqués de Cáceres. It was from the sensational 1970 vintage and was later considered to be the first modern Rioja – Forner wanted to make a different wine, following the Bordeaux model.
“He promoted the inclusion of the vintage date on the label (some old wineries were completely against it, insisting on just referring to the third year or fifth year, indicating the ageing period rather than the year of harvest), shorter ageing in newer wood, and in general darker colours for the reds and lighter for the whites. And, of course, Forner was also a pioneer in using consultants, a practice continued by the company.
“His daughter, Cristina Forner, was key in the marketing of the wines. Marqués de Cáceres became one of the strongest and best distributed brands in important markets such as France and the United States. They continued relying on grapes grown by others to produce their wines and were soon producing 10 million bottles without owning a single vine.
“The Cáceres range runs from Crianza to Gran Reserva, always at highly competitive prices, and has been completed with three whites (a young unoaked Viura, the barrel-fermented Antea and the semi-sweet Satinela), a dry rosé, and a luxury cuvée, Gaudium, developed by Michel Rolland, very much in the ripe, smooth style.
“Having been the original innovators, they are now considered one of the classic names of Rioja and the 1970 Marqués de Cáceres is viewed as a ‘historical’ wine. Today it is still younger looking, the rim slightly less brick-hued, than other Riojas from the vintage. Aniseed and balsamic notes are subtle initially but take on greater weight on the palate, which is surprisingly fruit driven. Forty years after it was made, it’s still fresh, long and balanced – a great wine.
“Enrique Forner was born in Sagunto (Valencia) in 1925, and died in Pamplona on 21 Jul 2011.” – JancisRobinson.com