By far the most scanned red wine by our users is Rioja. That is not really surprising as these wines have for years offered good value and easy drinking maturity. We have tasted some extraordinarily good value Riojas this year, and they will be delicious with Turkey and all the trimmings at Christmas.
In Waitrose, we recommend two of the great houses: CUNE and Muga. The control of the terms Reserva and Gran Reserva are tightly controlled in Rioja, it is not just a marketing description of little meaning as in some other wine growing regions of the world.
These wines are only produced in good years, and a Reserva has to spend a minimum of year in oak barrels and a further two years in bottle before release. A Gran Reserva requires a minimum of two years in oak and a further three years in bottle.
The Cune Imperial 2010 Reserva is a delicious, complex wine with lots of fruit, whilst the characteristic vanilla aromas from the barrel ageing and soft, gentle, “gamey-ness” of maturity come through very well. At Waitrose’s promotional price of £12.95 we think this is a £20.00 wine, so great value. BUY HERE.
The other star at Waitrose is Muga Seleccion Especial 2010, an intense wine with masses of fruit and complexity, a bigger style than the Cune which is gentler, and well worth it’s shelf price of £25.00. BUY HERE
Asda have a Reserva and Gran Reserva from a small little known producer called Espartero, but they offer exceptional value, and get our prize for the best value wines we have tasted this year. They are both excellent, the Reserva 2010 being younger and fruitier but less complex and stunning value at £6.98. This is easily a £12.00 wine! BUY HERE
The Gran Reserva 2008 is wonderfully soft and mature with sweet fruit and masses of complexity and oakiness. Jaw-droppingly good value for this £30.00 wine at £9.98!! We have been continually bowled over by this wine. BUY HERE
Finally, two sweet wines we recommend. Oro Moscatel is worth £11.00 for a 50cl bottle, but is being sold by Waitrose for £5.99. Its the perfect accompaniment to Christmas pudding, or cheese. BUY HERE
And for those of you who have heard of the rarest of sweet wines from Germany, Trockenbeerenauslese
, made from intensely sweet shrivelled grapes picked as late as Christmas, there is a luscious, honeyed, Rhine Pfaltz 2015
half bottle in Lidl right now for an unbelievably reasonable £7.99. These types of wine are usually very expensive but you will not be disappointed, this is a gorgeous wine and definitely worth over £12.00 for a half bottle.
Happy Christmas, drink some lovely wines, and remember quality is far better than quantity!