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The King of Spain.
Tempranillo is the chief component found in red Rioja, and Ireland drinks more of it than anywhere else in the world. So....Eurovision and Rioja consumption we are unparallelled! Tempranillo is mid weight in terms of acidity, tannin and alcohol, it is amenable to blending with a number of bedfellows, loves a bit of oak but is happy without and is generally delicious! It straddles the red fruit spectrum. The main grape of both Rioja and Ribera del Duero it is massively common across Spain but relatively rare elsewhere. This 6-Pack is dynamite for €95.

Starting off with an unbridled Joven (young) style is Iselen Tinto. Classic Temp. with lashings of red fruits, ruby colour and silky tannins - this is just dynamite drinkin! The Crianza, Reserva etcetera classification of ageing is what a lot of us in Ireland look for, and we have a couple of beautiful Crianza, meaning they've been aged a minimum of 2 years before release. Letargo Crianza and Aradon Crianza are both classically focused Rioja reds with a good lick of integrated oak and some of that deliberate oxidatative charcter, but not much. Deep colour and deep kick fruit charcterise these wines more than the oak - fun to open 'em together!!

We got a couple of curve balls too! El Mozo Herrigoia is a new-wave Rioja N Roller in that it is made with Tempranillo and white varieties via carbonic maceration, the natural wine making method used in Beaujolais. It is bright and juicy but with some tannic heft. (Funny enough this is how Rioja was made before the advent of commercial Rioja as we know it).  Perro Gato Raton is grown in Ribera del Duero but is outside the appellation rules in that they've included some white Abillo and Garnacha - this is a super interesting take - an almost tangy wine with loads of racy acidity and charcter.

Finishing with a bona fide Ribera del Duero where wines must be 100% Tempranillo
, one our fave wines of the year: Arrocal Roble. Riberas are big and bold, but the best examples offer loads of freshness, giving them elegance. This is a case in point - an iron fist in a velvet glove indeed! STSWine

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