Hello Prince Albert! With so many diverse wine regions to explore and taste of interesting wines, wine lovers should look for iconic Old World appellations to provide a baseline of quality and general affordability. often turn to
The term Old World refers to wine-growing regions that have existed for centuries. Some of the most common Old World countries are obvious. Countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Armenia, Cyprus, Georgia, etc. are not well known in PA and can be difficult to find.
These ancient regions have also developed complex wine laws that define strict guidelines for growing, producing, storing and marketing wine. These guidelines and regulations are often beneficial as they focus on quality, yield (which affects quality), regional style (indigenous grape varieties), blending, aging and marketing.
A good example of these wine laws can be demonstrated in the two wines I tasted this week from Rioja, Spain. An important fact to remember about Rioja wine labels is that they indicate the approximate age of the wine with words such as Joven, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva.
The word Joven is often not printed on the label, indicating a young wine with little barrel aging. Crianza is used for red wines aged 2 years (at least 1 year in oak barrels), Reserva for 3 years aged (at least 1.5 years in oak barrels) and Gran Reserva for a minimum of 5 years (at least 2 years in oak barrels). be matured. oak). These are basic requirements, and producers often exceed these limits to create beautiful, aging-worthy wines.
Why is the age in oak barrels and the age in the bottle important for Rioja wines? An oak-aged wine, for example, develops secondary flavors such as mushrooms, leather and earth while allowing flavors of spice, vanilla, caramel, coconut, tannins and wood to age in bottle.
Depending on personal taste, some wine lovers prefer more fruity wines, while others prefer wines with earthy or spicy elements found in oak-aged options. By using the aging system found on Rioja wine labels, fruity options like Crianza (less oak and bottle aged) and mid-tier wines like Reserva (oak spices and tannins, oak smooth secondary flavor) can be selected. bottle age).
Finally, we are left with the great Rioja wine, Gran Reserva. These wines are at least he has been aged for more than 5 years. This means it has a decent punch of spice, but it’s starting to mellow out from aging in the bottle. These bottles usually need several years of cellar aging to grow properly, but with patience and proper storage these can be truly outstanding bottles.
Some Spanish producers release wines with Old World gold or silver netting on the bottle. ), and Beronia (another Rioja gem available in PA). These wines make great gifts that can be enjoyed immediately or kept for a year or two for further aging.
Some tips on what to expect at the store: Crianza level wines are $20-$25, Reserva level wines are $25-$50, Gran Reserva wines are $40-$100+. Try a red Rioja from the Spanish aisles and savor it with charcuterie or quality barbecue! Will we see a white Rioja in the future?
Here are the recommended wines of the week!
Marques de Riscal Reserva 2016: (Rioja, Spain). Dry red with violet hues, deep ruby. The scent is balsamic cherry, fig, blackberry, wild strawberry, and hints of pepper. Medium bodied with intense blackberry and currant flavors. Soft cedar spice, red cherry, and field strawberry are lifted by medium-plus acidity. Cinnamon, pepper, cigar box and sweet tobacco linger in the finish. The spices are warm while the medium-plus tannins grip. Flavorful and elegant. Pair with dried salami, mushroom steak, or a Montecristo No. 4 cigar. It is still drinkable, but has the potential to age and should be tasted after another three years. very good!
$36, 14% ABV
CUNE Reserva 2015: (Rioja, Spain). Dry red, deep ruby. This Spanish red has an earthy, fruity bouquet filled with forest strawberries, blackberries, toast, pepper, white mushrooms, red cherries, and sweet tilled earth. The first sip reveals great concentration of dark fruits (plums, blueberries, cherries) and a rapid burst of medium acidity. It melts into silky notes of smooth peppery spice, roasted almonds/hazelnuts, leather and toast. Medium-plus tannins are accented throughout, creating a slightly waxy mouthfeel. Hints of toasted oak, toasted peanut shells, cigar leaf and dark chocolate linger on the long finish. Pairs well with cigars, stuffed mushrooms, dark chocolate and prime rib garlic mushrooms. very good! $25, 14% ABV
Cheers, thanks for reading!
Wine Time with Wine Guy Aaron
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