There’s a lot of value to be had in red Rioja. This Rioja crianza is 8 years old and an 80/20 blend of tempranillo and graciano. It saw 18 months in barrel and is from an organic vineyard. In the glass, there are aromas of game, cedar, leather, spice and red fruits. The tannins are softening, the length is good, and this wine is entering its best drinking window. A lot for $30. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $30.50. Source: Sample. Read more: bordeauxandbeyond.com.
Remelluri is a serious estate wine Rioja producer. The Gran Reserva remains in the winery for 7 years before release, sees a substantial 27 months in barrel and is a blend of mostly tempranillo and garnacha, with cameos from graciano, moscatel, malvasia and viura. So a blend of almost all of the Rioja varieties, red and white. In the glass, the 2009 vintage has aromas of game, leather, truffles, plums and vanilla. The palate has forthright tannins and good length on the finish. The oak influence is evident at this point. (Region: Rioja, Spain, Rating: Very Good, Drink: now to 2027, Tasted: June, 2017)
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Here two interests – lesser known grape varieties and wine styles – unexpectedly meet with a sparkling red blend of 63% chambourcin, 20% shiraz and 17% graciano. Chambourcin is a hybrid grape variety (so not a vitis vinifera) that tolerates wet weather well and is winter hardy, characters that admittedly do not appear ostensibly useful in McLaren Vale. Graciano is a minor component in red Rioja blends, but is well regarded for its contribution – adding character, extract and acidity. Shiraz is of course exactly that – Australian for red wine.
I wasn’t sure how this would come together, but the result here is quite lively. There’s mint, eucalyptus and mint patties on the nose. The palate is towards off dry in impression (there’s 10g/l of residual sugar but balanced by acidity) with refreshing bubbles, supplemented by notes of plums and game together with a skinsy texture. (Alc: 12.8%, Region: McLaren Vale, Rating: Good, Drink: now)