From Spain, perhaps the most consistent home of wine values, comes Rioja Reserva, which is possibly the best value in the known wine universe. Rioja, which carries the flag for Spain as Chianti does for Italy and Bordeaux for France, is like those two well-known regions in that it is huge and produces a lot of wine, so a quality bottle can be hard to come by at times. The secret for all your dubious wines is to buy them from NWM, as they have passed the gauntlet of our rigorous tasting panel and proved their excellence. In addition, La Rioja Alta took in its 126th harvest last year, and so must be doing something right. This bottle is right, too, Tempranillo which has clearly been worthy of the seven-year wait we’ve all had to put in to taste it. Spicy and medium-bodied, with an earthy nose of dark fruit, tobacco, and leather, it gives you that warming effect you want on a chilly evening. Resting two years in oak (one year is required by law) and five more in the bottle, waiting for you to uncork it, it has spent its time well, growing round, integrated, spicy, soft, and, as is the way with Tempranillo, somewhat lighter. Redolent with pleasant black plum and earth, spice, and just a touch of green pepper give you the full run of Rioja pleasures.
Pairing: Stewed Beef, Garlic Based Dishes
REGION: La Rioja, SPAIN