Friday, February 23, 2024

Best Rioja wines to transport yourself to Spain

Best for: charcuterie companionship

M&S has carved out a name for itself as a purveyor of quality goods, having built a formidable range of exemplary products under its M&S Collection umbrella. Naturally, its wine imports are of especial import, so to speak – as evidenced by two particularly strong entrants from El Coto de Rioja in Álava, one of which is a 2018 Reserva.

The Duque de Miralta Reserva 2018 pours bright, but sits dark in the glass. Though fragrant, it is delightfully easy on the nose, evoking dark chocolate and dried fruits straight away. This decadent trail mix gives way to compote notes, and hints at a developed sweetness in the process. 

At first taste, though, this sweetness is not so easy to find. This is to its credit, as more complex spiced notes come to the front. It is pleasingly tart, with a little tannic bitterness behind it that is also quite welcome; as that tartness mellows, the sweetness appears, and lingers on the tongue with dark fruits and cacao. This developed, all-trades mellowness is thanks both to the blending of grapes from all three regions and to the French oak casks in which the Reserva spends two years.

In all, this is an enjoyably complex Rioja that doesn’t alienate with its fuller-bodied flavour profile. It would naturally stand well against stronger spiced and meaty dishes, but its thinner tartness would also make it a fine charcuterie companion.

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