I watched intently as the rich ruby red wine gurgled into my glass. It looked as if it should be being poured into a gold-rimmed goblet, a fabulous colour.

And it tasted how it looked – full-bodied and flamboyant. “Hmmm” murmured the Saucy Dressings’ Chief Taster appreciatively. “It taste much more of a rioja than most riojas… I expect it is 100% tempranillo.” He looked at the bottle and discovered that it wasn’t. It’s 85% tempranillo, 10% mazuelo, and 5% graciano.

For more on rioja, follow this link.


This is what Ralph had to say:


quotes1“This comes from one of two Rioja bodegas represented in this case. It’s a big family with lots of brothers. They’re very well-known but only in Spain. Up until a couple of years ago they didn’t export at all, but their wines are more expensive than the norm in Spain and the market was becoming rather tight. They’re a religious family and tremendously proud that theirs is the only vineyard in Rioja to present wine to the Pope – there’s a photograph at their bodega of them handing him a jeroboam in a magnificent box.

This is the bodegas entry-level wine and it has an incredible vanilla finish which goes on and on and on…I think it’s due to the oak barrels they mature it in… these winemakers are all about quality, they aren’t worried about price.”

2011 was an excellent year and it’s proved to be very popular – I always have this open at tastings.quotes2


Goes well with roasts and game

£20 from Ralph’s wines online