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2004 and 2005 Rioja: Panel tasting results

This tasting of two excellent vintages almost two decades on proves that great Rioja wines are made to be enjoyed for many more years to come.

Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW, Sarah Jane Evans MW and Pierre Mansour tasted 53 wines with 8 Outstanding and 37 Highly recommended.

2004 and 2005 Rioja: panel tasting scores

53 wines tasted

Exceptional 0

Outstanding 8

Highly recommended 37

Recommended 7

Commended 1

Fair 0

Poor 0

Entry criteria: producers and UK agents were invited to submit red wines from the 2004 and 2005 vintages only, with any Rioja classification of gran reserva, reserva, crianza or genérico permitted

We had high expectations of this tasting. It is well known that great Rioja shows its full potential after extended ageing in the bottle, and 2004 and 2005 are both excellent vintages.

The 2004 vintage is the more irregular of the two. It was the last late vintage (from the following year onwards all good vintages have been quite early, likely due to climate change), and some areas performed much better than others. Fruit selection and good vineyard siting were crucial factors, but those who worked well got top wines.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores from the 2004 and 2005 Rioja panel tasting

2004 and 2005 Rioja panel tasting scores

The judges

Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW is a widely published wine journalist, educator and judge. He holds a degree in agronomical engineering and a Masters in viticulture and oenology, is a national expert for Spain at the OIV organisation and a DWWA joint Regional Chair for Spain.

Sarah Jane Evans MW is a Decanter contributing editor and Co-Chair of the Decanter World Wine Awards. Her latest book The Wines of Central and Southern Spain is set for release in early 2024.

Pierre Mansour is director of wine at The Wine Society, where he has worked for 23 years. Starting out with merchant Berry Bros & Rudd, he joined The Wine Society in 2000, moved into buying after four years and has been buying The Society’s Spanish wines since 2008.

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