2009 La Montesa Rioja

Wine Review: 2009 La Montesa Rioja

I have such affection for Rioja. In general, it is a safe bet for quality and value. That is not to say that there isn't a lot of crappy Rioja being made and sold, but rather that the good stuff is consistently sold at a reasonable price. $10 to $15 buys you a well-made, tasty wine. That same level of consistent quality in Napa Cabs doesn't start until closer to $30, and Pinot Noir is hit or miss at just about every price point. I bought this bottle at Costco for $13 and boy does it deliver.

Made from the tempranillo grape, the La Montesa Rioja is a Crianza, which means it was aged for two years, at least one year in oak. First, it is a beautiful purpley red with black cherry, plums and vanilla present in the nose. There is  just a hint of earthiness there too,  with medium body and soft, round tannins. Fruit is still luscious and this wine has a backbone of acidity that keeps its simplicity from becoming boring. It can be paired with many dishes, or enjoyed completely on its own. I would suggest serving with something a little richer because of the tannin present, roasted red meats and aged cheeses are a natural, but the acidity in the wine also means simple roast chicken or grilled vegetables would go nicely as well.

Alvaro Palacios is doing right by tempranillo and if you, like me, are a fan of the wines of Priorat, I highly recommend the Palacios Priorats as well. Those wines are garnacha instead of tempranillo, but they are delicious, well made and not crazy expensive either (although Priorats are far more expensive in general that Rioja).

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