Four Rioja Reservas

… all of them excellent. The penultimate of the catch-up-on-tasting-notes posts (see intro HERE if that doesn’t make sense)

Vina Real Res-001Viña Real Rioja Reserva 2009, Spain (£17.99 Berry Bros & Rudd, Wimbledon, Partridges, DeFINE, Tanners)
Relaxed, open-hearted wine, with sweet berry flavours, meaty/earthy overtones and fine tannins, gentle but persistent, hard to ignore now, but all there for the future. S


Contino Res-001Contino Rioja Reserva 2008, Spain (£19.99 Tesco, Berry Bros & Rudd, Moreno Wines, Oxford Wine, Cheers, Harrods)
Rich and smoky, with a spicy vanilla edge but also something quite fragrant to add further interest. There’s a slightly drying edge of oak tannin, but the fruit behind is fleshy and supple, with savoury/meaty notes in there too. Really tasty wine – and promising too. S(+)


Imperial Res-001Cune Imperial Rioja Reserva 2009, Spain (£20.49 Co-op, Majestic, Wine Rack, Berry Bros & Rudd, Wine Rack, Wimbledon Wine Cellars, Luvians, Fortnums, Cambridge Wine Merchants)
Knowledgeable wine, grown up but still fresh with ginger and orange peel notes adding to the intense savoury plum and berry flavours and classic Spanish dusty wildness. And improves with each sniff – should drink well for 10+ years. S+


Ontanon ResOntañon Rioja Reserva 2005, Spain (£13.50-£15 John Hattersley Wines, Noel Young Wines, WoodWinters)
Veers towards the modern style of Rioja Reserva, herby as much as spicy, with the wood impact more in the firm cedary Bordeaux spectrum (although most of the oak is American) than the traditional soft vanilla, the fruit – berries of all colours and blackcurrants – still incredibly youthful and fresh and a hint of chocolate. Full flavoured but medium bodied, this is delicious, and should remain so for another five years at least. S(+)

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