Finding a good wine, especially on a decent price level its not very easy. Some restaurants and bars can charge you 100% more than the market value and the wine would still be disappointing. Also when you go to a wine store there is just too many choices! You have to be very lucky to find a sales person which actually knows something about wines. So how to find a good wine then? The easiest is to read magazines like Decanter or follow wine sommeliers and wine experts on social media. They recommendations are really good and precise. As a third option you can just follow a passionate wine drinker like myself 🙂 I am very conscious about what I buy and I always search for the best value for money.
La Rioja, Spain.
This Spanish wine region is located south of the Cantabrian Mountains along the Ebro river and it has a Denominacin de Origen Calificada (D.O.Ca., “Qualified Designation of Origin”) mark. It is subdivided into three zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa. Many wines have traditionally blended fruit from all three regions, though there is a slow growth in single-zone wines.
Located on the western edge of the region and at higher elevations than the other areas, the Rioja Alta is known more for its “old world” style of wine. A higher elevation equates to a shorter growing season. This in turn produces brighter fruit flavors and a wine that is lighter on the palate.
Rioja Alavesa produces wines with a fuller body and higher acidity. Vineyards in the area have a low vine density with large spacing between rows. This is due to the relatively poor conditions of the soil with the vines needing more distance from each other and less competition for the nutrients in the surrounding soil.
This area the warmest and driest of the Rioja. Baja wines are very deeply coloured and can be highly alcoholic with some wines at 18% alcohol by volume.
Rioja wines can be classified into 4 categories. The first, simply labeled Rioja, is the youngest, spending less than a year in an oak aging barrel. A Crianza is wine aged for at least two years, at least one of which was in oak. Rioja Reserva is aged for at least three years, of which at least one year is in oak. Finally, Rioja Gran Reserva wines have been aged at least two years in oak and three years in bottle. Reserva and Gran Reserva wines are not necessarily produced each year.
My experience with Baron De Ley, Reserva
I found this wine very accidentally when I read my first Decanter magazine. It got a 95+ score and was named the best Rioja wine of the 2015 which brought up my interest. You should see my happy face when I found it at the airport duty free shop 1 month after. I bought it immediately and never regret that decision 🙂 Since then I almost always have at least one bottle at home.
This wine is mainly made using Tempranillo (typical grapes for Rioja region) grapes and it is ageing for 20 months in new American-oak casks. Further it is rounded in the bottle for next 24 months. It has a ruby-red colour and on the nose it surprises you with its powerful fruity aroma which is intense and very characteristic for this type of wine. And the taste? It is just amazingly full of fruits with decent tannins and have no aftertaste. I give this wine a 4,5* from 5* possible.
Last but not least lets talk about the price. This wine cost on average 14 euros (Gran Reserva around 30 EUR) which is amazing value for money. So If you really like a good wine and you do not want to invest a lot then you should definitely try this one. I am convinced that you will be satisfied.
PS: Please let me know your opinion when you will taste it by leaving a comment below or via my social media 🙂
Resources: http://www.barondeley.com & wikipedia