For the very first bottle of the week, I have decided to go with one of my favorite standbys, the Marques de Caceres Rioja. Currently I am drinking the 2011 vintage. You’ve probably seen this bottle at most wine stores you have set foot in. They even carry it at Trader Joe’s. This bottle is a red blend made mostly from the Tempranillo grape blended with Garnacha and Graciano. The wine is named for the region from which it comes, Rioja, Spain. I recently purchased a copy of Wine Folly, The Essential Guide to Wine, and in the intro section the book discusses what appears on the label for identification of the wine. Some wines will be named after the grape they are comprised of, for example a Tempranillo, to stick with Spanish wines, is a wine made completely from that grape. Other wines are named for the region in which they are grown. Wines are sometimes given names by the producers, which usually indicate a blend of some sort. The Rioja falls into the second category.
This Rioja is made largely of Tempranillo grapes, so it shares many characteristics with a Tempranillo wine. It is a full-bodied wine and a little bit fruity, without being too forward, and has a rather earthy smell. The tannins are a bit grippy and it feels slightly acidic. It has a nice finish, which is more minerally than the attack. I noticed that after sipping on the bottle (out of a glass, of course) for the better part of two hours that it opened up very nicely. I have seen this bottle for anywhere from $10 to $15, which makes it the perfect bottle to swing by the store and quickly pick up on the way to dinner with the parents. It’s great to drink, and goes well with most dishes, particularly those with tomatoes (which is what I was eating while drinking it). Considering price, I would give it a 4.5 out of 5, or a 9 out of 10, however you want to think about it.