Sunday roast lamb on the menu, so there’s only choice of wine to drink with it and that’s a Rioja but which one ? Rummaging around my rack I came across this Viña Mara Gran Reserva 2004, I bought this a quite a few years ago now and basically forgot about it, Tesco sell this now (not the 2004) but it’s called Viña del Cura and it’s still backed by the ever reliable Baron De Ley. I remember this and the 2007 Reserva being a regular buy for me and to be honest I thought it was probably the best supermarket Rioja you could find.
Rebranded as Viña del Cura it’s still a top Spanish red for those of you who love a Rioja and still hard to beat on the high street, the Reserva sells for under £10 with the Gran Reserva at around £11.50, admittedly not the cheapest but in terms of value for money you won’t be disappointed.
Viña Mara Gran Reserva 2004
Seventeen year old Rioja, this called for the decanter, I must admit I had a small issue with the cork coming apart but managed to get it out without to much hassle. In the decanter the colour was noticeably a deep garnet with brown tinges around the edge, showing it’s age. Straight away there were aroma’s of ripe cherry, sweet vanilla and tobacco filling the air. I decided to leave it for around 3 hours in which time the roast lamb was cooking.
After time in the decanter it was the moment of truth and boy I wasn’t disappointed, No harsh tannins to speak of, still with some acidity and the fruit was still evident but there was a lovely background of sweet spice, vanilla, leather and smokiness.
This tasted like a real old world Rioja and it transported me back to those sleepy Spanish towns, sitting in a bar with Flamenco music in the background and church incense in the air.
I’ve got one 2007 Reserva under the old label left but do check out the Viña del Cura in the Tesco Finest Range, still a great Rioja.
Viña del Cura Gran Reserva Tesco £11.50