Ever since I had my first bottle of Rioja about 19 years ago (that’s right, I was probably under age!) I’ve been hooked. The dryness of a wine that has plenty of age on it has always appealed to me because the wines of the time spoke of the land, in a different manner than one thinks about when we hear the word terroir.
That first bottle was a 2001 Marque de Riscal. Nice and dry, with plenty of dust and musky flavors to make you think of the wine your old man drank, if he drank wine, the Marque was an introduction to a different style of wine that my heart still has a fondness for.
This is not that. The Cortijo Rioja from 2015 is 100% Tempranillo grape from Spain and none of the familiar dryness was present in this wine. Instead, the wine was more balanced. My unofficial notes from Evernote state:
A rich, deep red color with a ruby nose, that lets out some oak, cherry, and pepper is confirmed by the taste, along with firm tannins, light structure. Oak and hints of light spice follow through on the medium finish.
Another wine from South Eastern Australia with body and structure! This cabernet possesses an old world style with firm tannins, thick leathery mouthfeel and a chewiness not commonly found in new world wines. It opens up slightly with a little more fruit after an hour or so.
Pair this with a steak or rustic Italian pasta dish with a red sauce and you can’t go wrong!
I will admit I’ve been looking for more old world style wines and Grocery Outlet is starting to carry more of them. The wine buyer there is Stefano Turrini, formerly of Veloce (Now Dimmi) Liquor Di Milano. The man has a passion for providing customers with quality wines. I met him way back when La Salle Cigars was still open in Montclair, Oakland. I did a review of Dimmi and have one bottle left but I’ll have to hunt for it!
Ruby red in color with softer fruits and less pepper than I like yet this is a solid wine to pair with steaks and lamb burgers. There is enough structure in the wine for it to hold up for another year at most. A light medium finish closed off this wine from South Eastern Australia.
Wine retails for about $15 but we picked it up at Grocery Outlet.
For the lamb burgers I simply mixed sea salt, black pepper, oregano and chili powder into the meat, cooked until ddsired and served on rosemary rolls with potatoes.
This wine was a delightful mouthful of red tannin and fruit with plenty of structure, a nice balance and fruit that’s not overly aggressive like many California varietals tend to be. Paired well with pepper steak, this wine drinks with a medium body and a long finish.
We’ve been drinking on the cheap lately due to funds but this wine retailed for close to $20 and was picked up at Grocery Outlet in Oakland for no more than $5.99 a bottle. It’s a real steal considering that it’s still good and going strong. It probably will hold up for another two to three years if aged right and mellow a tad. As to the blend I’m not sure but I’d gather there was Merlot and cab sauvignon in the blend at least. Firm tannins always say Merlot to me 🙂