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This is not a conventional wine story. This is an ode to the great, traditional growths of Rioja that stand the test of time, unimpressed by fashions. Reflections by Carlos Delgado.

What about our classics? Those great Rioja growths that once founded the fame of Spain as a wine country, but which have been increasingly replaced over the past ten years by "modern" wines, dark, powerful wines that score the highest points in tastings? The question comes to me abruptly: I am chatting with Enrique Cortázar, with whom I have a long friendship, forged through large sips and long discussions about wine.

My latest discovery

Knowing that Enrique shares my love of music, I put on my latest discovery, the 7th Sonata by Beethoven - interpreted by Alfred Brendel. He should definitely listen to the second movement, almost nine minutes long and one of the most beautiful passages the brilliant composer ever put on paper. After the last notes have faded away, I offer my guest something to drink, something that fits this unique piece of music, is worthy of it. I open a bottle of Spanish red wine, one of the most highly rated wines of our time (whose sonorous name I wisely keep to myself), cited by myself countless times as a shining example of the wind of renewal that has been blowing through our wine landscape for some years now.

Enrique and I grasp the glass with a firm hand to check the wine against the light. Then we lower our noses indecently deep into the glass, we swirl and smell, once, again, penetrating right into the aromatic bowels of the dark liquid. Now we carefully take a small sip, let it roll around in our mouths, slowly and deliberately at first, then catapult it energetically against the palate with a precise flick of the tongue. A few more seconds, then we finally decide to swallow, enjoying every drop blissfully.

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