Rioja's one thing... but Rioja Reserva is another: winemakers only make them in great vintages (where they believe the wines have aging potential) and age the wines for a minimum of 3 years, with at least one of those years in oak casks. This is where Tempranillo "levels up," in other words, and is also often the sweet spot for finding Rioja in its most balanced, state (Goldilocks, i.e.: "This Crianza is too fruity! This Gran Reserva is too oaky! This Reserva is just right!").
Finding a good Reserva isn't hard -- they're kind of pre-selected to be good, see -- but finding a *great* one? That doesn't cost a gal her day's wages? This is a considerably trickier endeavor. So when we scored an absolutely freaky deal on one that all three major wine mags went ga-ga over? One that normally cost $28... but that they'd let us offer for 50% off on the case (if we bought a carload of it)? Well we grabbed Goldilocks by the hand and had her hit the "Order Now" button.
This is Rioja Reserva at its most essential: dark ruby in color, with red and black and blue fruit (currants, blueberries, dark red raspberries) all playing well together - along with mocha, and cardamom-laced baking spices. This is a wine to buy by the caseload: as good as it is now, this will cellar well for the next 5-8 years, easy!