2011 Rioja Gran Familia $20, 13% ABV – 4 stars – Joelle Thomson

Where to buy: Farro and Fine Wine Delivery Company in Auckland; Regional Wines and Moore Wilsons, Wellington; Vino Fino, Christchurch.

This Spanish red is new to New Zealand this year…

Here is the low down: It’s a Rioja so it’s a blend of two Spanish grapes – Tempranillo and Garnacha – with (potentially) smaller amounts of Mazuelo and Graciano,which can range from zero to around 10% of the blend, but often do not appear at all. Tempranillo is an early ripening red grape that plays the lead character in Rioja, providing savoury flavours, acidity and structure that allows these wines to age. This one spent 12 months in oak and three years (in total – that’s including the time in oak) in the Bodega, prior to being released for sale.

Its flavours?

Like most Rioja, it offers significant complexity, particularly when you take the price into account. This wine wine has pronounced aromas of red plums, black cherries, fresh wet leaves, wet stones, cigar leaves and a clean earthy taste… While fruity flavours dominate, it’s interestingly savoury too and makes a very good value glass (or three) of wine right now and will hold for 3-4 years. Very good value for money.