The reds from Spain’s most famous region offer a terrific value in a range of styles. Here are three bottles from Vintages worth seeking out.
Rio Madre 2011, $14.95
This red is made from Graciano, a blending grape that has gained favour among new-school winemakers. Pour during cocktail hour with spicy chorizo.
Ponce notes: Unlike classic rustic Rioja, this wine is fruit-forward and decidedly modern. It exhibits pretty floral aromas, ripe blackberry flavours, and juicy acidity.
Hacienca Lopez de Haro Rioja Reserva 2005, $17.95
Oak-aged for 20 months, this wine mostly contains Tempranillo, with some Graciano and Garnacha grapes thrown in. Try with paella.
Ponce notes: With ripe plum flavours, firm acids, and a slightly earthy finish, it’s hard to believe a wine of this age and quality is under 20 bucks.
Ontañon Reserva 2004, $25.95
A 95/5 blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, this red is only made in exceptional vintages. Pour with hard sheep’s-milk cheeses.
Ponce notes: The nose captivates with a bouquet of red licorice and cedar. Still sprightly for a 10-year-old, it’s complex, beautifully balanced, and a pure pleasure to drink.