Yay!  I am so excited to review my very first taste of the Rioja appellation from that tiny tiny tiny region in northern Spain. From all the study I’ve done in my vino learning, there exists some 150 wineries in this tiny 500 km² appellation!!¹

Why this vino of all the choices out there to serve with a baked chorizo rice dish served with toasted Bruschetta-topped baguette garnished with prosciutto?  I’ve NEVER had it before – that’s why!  I’ve read about it in various annals, seen it used on cooking programs on the telly, and heard mention of Rioja in a recent motion picture about pirates and their guzzle of choice; this is one vino i just could not bring myself to taste blindfolded.

Lusciously ruby in the glass (a lot lighter in color than I was expecting) a complex aroma of mixed red berries and rich spices, through the 13.5% alc/vol; fills the nose. An underlying layer of toasty vanilla, leather and cocoa compliment this toasty/woody complexity. Astonishingly light on the palate, tart flavors of black pepper soften to smooth velvety tannins and a long herbal finish with note of soft leather.

I can’t get over how smooth and soft this vino feels on the palate!  Certainly the initial shock of cracked black pepper is a drawback, but such a meaty robust red should have at least one ball-peen hammer-like detraction.  But no – this is smooth and easy-drinking, full and subtle with a sense of adventure at decent price tag.  LCBO/Vintage ~$15/btl

Cheers!!

~tvb

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**image credit – the winery.  Reproduced under Fair Use provisions for review and critique

 

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