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Our much-loved 93-point Rioja.

For those of you who care to follow, my ongoing theme in this blog, currently, is dedicated to award-winning wines which retail from £15 to £20 per bottle. This category represents a sweet spot for us, where wines are of a concentration and quality which is highly rewarding, without breaking the back. Last week we covered Borsao`s `Cabriola` and `Tres Picos` Garnacha reds, from Campo de Borja in Spain. This week we move west to Spain`s famous Rioja region, where the Tempranillo grape is King. “Laderas de Cabama” is a single-vineyard Rioja, aged 12 months in oak, which is pure, and elegant, produced from 100% Tempranillo. The 2016 vintage is beautifully balanced, and a fabulous partner to juicy pink lamb cutlets. This is the modern style Rioja so loved by sommeliers, for its sleekness and smooth delivery. However, for my own taste, I look to traditional Rioja for my high kicks, and my favourite, currently, is the award-winning Bodega Ontañón Rioja Reserva 2010, a wine made up with 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano grapes, and aged 12 months in oak with extended bottle aging. These wines need the extra aging, and this wine is at its optimum drinking time right now. Moreover, the 2010 vintage is one of the greats, so it has provenance and pedigree. A dark wine, its aromas are full, soft, and earthy, with black fruits and dark minerals. The palate is so fine-grained it feels creamy, coating the mouth; mid-palate the flavours burst forth, rich and sumptuous: bramble, blackberry, plum, vanilla, cedar, tobacco, spice. And then there`s the long, sublime finish. Decanter Magazine gave it 93/100 points. I give it, the big thumbs up!   Moreover, it`s the ideal wine choice with roasted lamb, rosemary, and garlic, and a personal favourite. And all for less than £20.  Oh, and don`t forget to decant, folks, and use your best, large glasses. Our winemaking friends in Rioja have gone to pains, over many years, to deliver this to us. Respect the moment; and serve it properly. Cheers everyone!



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