A quick reminder that our Spring promotion ends on Monday, so there’s only a few days to take advantage of deals such as 20% off South Africa, 20% off southern France and 20% off Argentina. Getting ready for the summer promotion which kicks off on Tuesday has kept me busy, but I’ve been meaning to blog about my current favourite wine region Rioja and I’ll take the opportunity now whilst I can, because our 25% off Spain offer also ends on Monday!
2004 was a fantastic vintage in Rioja – it’s official. The consejo regulador, the regulatory council responsible for the denominacion, provides official ratings for Rioja vintages and 2004 rates as ‘excellent’, alongside famous vintages such as 2001, 1995 and 1994. (Admittedly, the lowest rating on the scale is ‘average’ – it seems there’s no such thing as a bad vintage in Rioja, much like fast food restaurants don’t have small sizes, only medium.)
The first of the 2004 Reservas are just coming on stream, and we have a couple of absolute stunners, from CVNE and Muga. These two well regarded bodegas make an interesting comparison – CVNE’s modern, gravity fed winery contrasts nicely with the very traditional Muga, although slightly perversely I find the classically elegant CVNE a bit more of a ‘traditional’ style of wine (light and fresh with elegant strawberry fruit), with the Muga just a little richer, with darker, chocolatey fruit.
What’s amazing about these wines is that they deliver such amazing complexity, depth and ageworthiness for the money: £7.99 for the CVNE, £9.99 the Muga. Like most Rioja, the extended barrel maturation and bottle ageing before release means that these wines are already approachable, but Rioja never ceases to amaze in it’s ability to age, so I expect these to continue to improve for years to come. If you are looking for a wine to cellar for a few years that doesn’t cost the earth I can’t think of anything that comes close – and I’ve put my money where my mouth is, squirrelling a case of each away in my Vinotheque account.
As if these early 2004s weren’t enough, we’re still enjoing some of the later arriving 2001s, making the Rioja range a real treasure trove. If you’ll hurry your local store may have some Marques de Caceres Reserva 2001 for £10.49, and if not the recently arrived Gran Reserva is a steal at £12.74. CVNE’s very elegant Viña Real Reserva 2001 (£10.49) is delicious, but for me the real superstar is their slightly more forceful and deep Imperial Reserva 2001 – at £11.99, this is a proper fine wine a crazy price (and another wine destined for the Weaver cellar).
If you’re not sure just how serious Rioja can be, our Fine Wine Centre currently has a few cases of the stunning 2001 Contino Reserva for £25. This beautiful winery, set on a very picturesque bend in the river Ebro, is a single estate property managed as a separate operation by CVNE. It produces relatively small volumes of stunning Riojas, and is a particular champion of the the local Graciano grape variety.